How did National Bank beat expectations?

What factors helped National Bank of Canada report better-than-expected earnings?

Canada’s big banks are six for six.

Rounding out the latest batch of quarterly profit announcements from Canada’s major banks, National Bank has reported a 6% growth in quarterly profit. This finally affirms previous predictions that the big six’s earnings would be unfazed by the Canadian economy’s disappointing recent performance.

The major lender attributed a reported 6% year-on-year increase in net income to its acquisition of Advanced Bank of Asia in May. This pushes the bank’s net income to $478 million. Earnings per share stood at $1.31, beating the average estimate of $1.20 as reported by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

During the third quarter ended on July 31, its provision for credit losses dropped to $45 million, a massive decline compared to the previous end-of-quarter figure of $317 million.

While the bank’s profits and earnings were impressive overall, one analyst said that core earnings figures – that is, if the contribution from the ABA acquisition is ignored – were a mere 1 Canadian cent above the consensus estimate.

“In comparison to peers, the results do not appear to be as strong,” said Barclays analyst John Aiken. “And despite an emerging positive story on capital, we do not expect to see much relative outperformance in the shares."

The bank’s personal and commercial division saw a 5% rise in net income, taking it to $203 million. Its wealth management business enjoyed the same percentage rise, producing $80 million in net income.

Its core tier 1 ratio, meanwhile, stood at 9.9% at the end of July, representing a 10-basis-point improvement from the preceding quarter.

Related stories:
TD and CIBC post third quarter earnings
Is there a dark side to Canadian bank outperformance?