Yorkshire Bank in UK profits boost

THE LEEDS-based Yorkshire Bank has made a significant contribution to an improved performance in the UK by its Aussie parent.

National Australia Bank Group, owner of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, today released full year results for its UK operations for the 12 months to 30 September 2006.

The bank said the figures were evidence that its UK business was "delivering on its promises."

Underlying profit rose 16.7 per cent to 454m compared with a year earlier, while post tax earnings climbed 12.8 per cent to 229m. Total income was up 8.7 per cent at 1,193m while net interest income climbed 14.6 per cent to 769m.

Lynne Peacock, chief executive officer of National Australia Bank UK, said: "These are strong results which clearly demonstrate the continued recovery in our UK business.

"Across our UK operations, income continues to increase while efficiency continues to improve with a reducing cost/income ratio. The strategic agenda outlined last year continues on track and is delivering sustained growth."

As part of its reorganisation, NAB has cut some 1,235 staff in the UK and closed 105 Yorkshire and Clydesdale branches.

It also scrapped its final salary pension scheme after members supported the move and disposed of its two Irish banks, National Irish Bank and Northern Bank, in 2005.

A possible sale of the remaining businesses was rumoured, but during the summer Ms Peacock said she expected NAB to be committed to its remaining UK operations for "months and years to come."

The cost to income ratio fell from 63.4 per cent to 61.1 per cent in the full year and to 59.5 per cent in the half year.

Over the period, average gross loans and acceptances increased 25.6 per cent to 20.6bn while average retail deposit balances increased 14.2 per cent to 12.9bn.


Ms Peacock said the bank's network of integrated Financial Solutions Centres were "really starting to deliver" with lending and deposit balances both up almost 30 per cent over the year.

Mortgage balances increased by a third, particularly through the bank's mortgage intermediary business which had introduced over 16,000 new customers.

The bank said its programme to converge the back office systems of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks onto one platform was well advanced.

l BRITISH Airways today conceded that the terror scare in August cost it far more than initially expected as profits fell by more than a quarter.

The airline said grounded flights and disruption at airports in the aftermath of the security alert cost it 100m compared with the 40m it originally thought.

It came as BA posted a 27 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to 176m for the three months from July to September.

BA said that, despite the chaos in August, revenues lifted 4.9 per cent in the second quarter to 2.31bn.