Third Quarter Trading Update
· The Group remains profitable year to date despite the ongoing public health restrictions and the related supressed economic activity
· Continued good progress operationally, with a new CRM system increasing efficiency and the launch of a brand evolution and a new website to enable more effective digital marketing
· Customer loan balances up 3% on the prior year at
o Issued loans totalling
· Deposit balances up 14% compared to the prior year at
· Investment Management gross inflows increased 24% on the prior year, with Assets Under Management up 4%
· New divisions continue to make progress
Commenting on the third quarter trading, Sir
"The Group continues to perform resiliently despite the challenges posed by the pandemic's impact on economic activity and the historically low interest rates. We went into the current crisis with strong financial resources and having made important operational progress following investment in our platforms and proposition. We continue to concentrate on supporting existing clients through the current uncertainty, and we remain well positioned to benefit from the new opportunities we expect to arise upon the resumption of more normal business activity."
Despite the ongoing public health restrictions, the Group has continued to operate efficiently, with all staff following the Government's guidance and working remotely.
The Group reported a small profit before tax for the first six months of 2020, however, the Group traded at a marginal loss in the third quarter but remains profitable year to date.
At the end of the quarter, the customer loan balance closed at
We continued to attract a good flow of customer deposits with balances increasing by
During the third quarter we have noted that housing indices have recorded increased valuation levels, which contrasts with the economic scenarios that we modelled for the purposes of IFRS9 within the recent interim results. At the time of the interims, the modelling resulted in a blended decline in residential valuations of 8.6%. The resultant provisions that were required remain in place at the end of the third quarter despite the higher valuations levels, as we prefer to see how the unwinding of the Government support packages impacts the valuations before concluding this is a consistent trend.
During, the quarter the first
At the end of the quarter, the Group remained in a strong position with regards to its key regulatory measures. The Group in excess of
Currently, the Group remains on track to meet the forecast market expectations of a small overall loss for the year. This remains dependent on no significant declines in the valuations of the Group's investment and repossessed properties and also the continued credit trends in the lending portfolios.
The Board is monitoring the recent dividend declarations of other banks and also the fact that the PRA will review its guidance on banks paying dividends during the fourth quarter. The Board will therefore consider the outcome of this to guide its dividend strategy in 2021.
Business Division Highlights
The strategy of the
As with the wider
The Mortgage Portfolios continued to provide forbearance to their borrowers as required. However, as the first payment holiday period came to an end many of the borrowers returned to making repayments. The largest portfolio "
The portfolios are being closely monitored as we approach the end of the second payment holiday period and the start of the unwinding of the job support schemes, at the end of October.
Forbearance measures are still being offered albeit greatly reduced from 70% of loan balances at its peak to 39%.
Specific sectors such as the London Taxi Market, to which RAF supplies asset finance, remain subdued.
Overall, the credit quality of new business originations has increased due to a combination of a tighter credit appetite and reduced competition from non-bank backed asset finance lenders.
Industry statistics indicate a recovering trend of new business originations since June, albeit reduced compared with the prior year. This and the combination of lower investment by SME's in vehicles and capital equipment and RAF's tightened approach to risk has resulted in continued reductions in the loan book.
Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending ("ACABL")
During the quarter ACABL reached a significant milestone as it reached an overall breakeven point, which means that the Group has now recouped its investment in start-up losses, giving a sixteen-month payback period.
New facilities written in the third quarter totalled
ACABL has a strong reputation within the private equity community as introducers of new business. Due to corporate divestments and distressed businesses that previously enjoyed sound operating models coming to market, ACABL is benefitting from these relationships, as they are seeing an increasing number of opportunities arising.
Following the accreditation of the Bank by the
ASFL has experienced slow lending activity since lockdown began and the property market effectively closed for a few months. Since the easing of lockdown began in June, the business has seen an uptake in enquiries as it continues with a cautious approach during the uncertain climate.
The business's operating platform nCino launched in July and has proved efficient with operating efficiencies emerging. The nCino broker portal is expected to be launched during the next quarter along with a broker training program.
Operations & Technology
After a period of lower client activity in April, May and June, the relaxation of lock down measures over the summer saw volumes return to more normal levels. Non-card payments, in excess of 25,000 in July and August, mirrored the levels seen for the same period in 2019, although card payments remained lower at circa 75% of the level seen before the pandemic.
Client engagement remains a key focus, with full telephony support available for clients, although the level of client calls remains lower, with calls over the period April to August at 75% of those received previously. The new CRM Platform was launched as planned in
The Directors of the Company accept responsibility for the contents of this announcement.
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