NatWest Group sees almost £1 billion year-on-year profit boost

The financial results come at a time of volatility for the group. Credit: PA

NatWest Group has seen its profits surge by £1 billion year-on-year, beating forecasts as the banking group benefited from higher borrowing costs and greater lending.

The British bank, which saw the exit of boss Dame Alison Rose earlier this week, following the Nigel Farage account scandal, said its pre-tax operating profit leaped to £3.6 billion in the half-year to the end of June, up from £2.6 billion the same time last year.

Analysts had been expecting a lower profit of £3.3 billion for the latest half-year.

But the bank said it expects higher interest rates to be largely offset by savings rates and mortgage income reductions through the second half of the year.

The financial results come at a time of volatility for the group, with chief executive Dame Alison Rose resigning in the early hours of Wednesday after admitting to being the source of an incorrect BBC report on Mr Farage’s finances.

The boss of Coutts, the bank which shut down Mr Farage’s account and is owned by NatWest, also stepped down on Thursday.

Senior bosses of the group are set to face the scrutiny of shareholders and journalists on Friday morning.

Commenting on NatWest beating profit forecasts, Mr Farage tweeted: “The NatWest profits are no great surprise.

“Interest payments have risen sharply yet deposits have lagged.

Nigel Farage has called for a wider cultural change in the banking industry. Credit: PA

“The whole sector is making massive profits whilst treating the public badly.”

NatWest’s chief financial officer, Katie Murray, said: “NatWest Group’s strong performance for the first half of the year is underpinned by our robust balance sheet, with a high-quality deposit base, high levels of liquidity and a well-diversified loan book.

“As a result, we are able to continue lending to our customers and delivering sustainable returns and distributions to our shareholders, even in the current uncertain economic environment.

“Although arrears remain low, we know that people, families and businesses are anxious about their finances and many are really struggling.

“We are being proactive in our support for those who are hardest hit, helping to build the financial resilience of the customers and communities we serve.”

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