Belfast Telegraph

Clydesdale and Yorkshire banking group notches up 15% hike in half-year profits

The Clydesdale and Yorkshire banking group has notched up a 15% hike in half-year profits as it slashed costs and grew mortgage and current account business.

Glasgow-based CYBG, which demerged from former owner National Australia Bank last year, posted underlying pre-tax profits of £123 million for the six months to March 31, against £107 million a year earlier.

It was helped by cost cutting as part of efforts to save more than £100 million by 2019, including a programme to axe almost a third of its branch network.

But the costs of this restructuring and another £150 million bill for payment protection insurance mis-selling left bottom line profits 21% lower at £46 million.

The group said the half-year figures kept it on track for a "modest" maiden shareholder dividend payout for 2017.

Jim Pettigrew, chairman of CYBG, said: "CYBG has had a good start to 2017, building on the momentum created in our first year as an independent business."

CYBG declined to comment on whether it was interested in buying troubled rival the Co-operative Bank.

It was among those said initially to have been keen to snap up some or all of the Co-op Bank, although Virgin Money reportedly pulled out of talks in recent days.

A spokesman for CYBG said: "We don't comment on rumour or speculation."

In its half-year results, CYBG said the housing market had continued to grow in its first half, although it cautioned over the Brexit squeeze on consumer finances.

It said: "The impact of higher inflation and its influence on consumer confidence will continue to be a key area of focus with potential knock- on implications for consumer spending and business activity."

The group saw current account balances rise by 4.5% in the half-year, while its mortgage portfolio rose 5% to £22.4 billion.

CYBG added that it remains "cautious" on unsecured lending, which fell by 3% in the half year amid weakened consumer sentiment and competition from rivals.

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