Australia’s largest business lender National Australia Bank is on track for a $6 billion full year profit, helped along by improvements in its troubled UK business.
NAB made a cash profit of $1.5 billion in the three months to June, up from $1.4 billion in the same period in 2012.
The performance puts NAB on track to deliver a $6 billion cash profit for the 12 months to the end of September, Morningstar analyst David Ellis said.
That would mark a significant improvement on the $5.4 billion cash profit the bank made last year.
Mr Ellis said profit growth was linked to improvements in NAB’s British operations, which has reduced charges from loans unable to be repaid, known as bad debts.
“The big turnaround for 2013 will be a less of a bad result from the UK and that’s both in bad debts and net interest margins as well,” he said.
NAB’s bad debt charges were $2.6 billion in 2011/12, but Mr Ellis expects that to be reduced to $2.1 billion in 2012/13.
The bank’s bad debt charge was $498 million in the June quarter, down 10 per cent on the preceding three months.
NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne said the company had continued to increase its market share in mortgages, a result of its aggressive interest rate pricing strategy.
But conditions in the business banking sector remained subdued, Mr Clyne said.
“Operating conditions for business banking are challenging, with ongoing weak confidence and subdued volumes,” he said.
NAB said business banking earnings were flat in the June quarter, and revenues were lower.
But cash earnings from the bank’s personal banking arm had grown due to growth in mortgage lending.
Wholesale banking earnings were slightly lower in the quarter, due in part to reduced customer activity.
NAB’s net profit, which includes one-off financial items, was $1.7 billion in the June quarter, up from $1.2 billion in the same period last year.
The bank’s shares gained 21 cents to $31.57.