- Natwest Group has reporting a pre-tax profit of £946million for the first quarter of the year, beating market expectations.

The bank's revenue was up almost 5% when compared with the final quarter of 2020 to £2.65bn, but was down 14% on the same quarter a year earlier.

Income across the UK and RBSI retail and commercial businesses, excluding notable items, decreased by £203 million, or 8.0%, compared with Q1 2020 reflecting the lower yield curve, subdued transactional business activity and lower consumer spending, partially offset by balance sheet growth.

Net lending decreased by £1.8 billion to £358.7 billion in comparison to Q4 2020. Across the UK and RBSI retail and commercial businesses, net lending excluding UK Government support schemes, increased by £2.2 billion on an annualised basis, including £3.4 billion related to mortgages.

Retail Banking gross new mortgage lending was £9.6 billion in the quarter.

Customer deposits increased by £21.6 billion compared with Q4 2020 to £453.3 billon. Across the UK and RBSI retail and commercial businesses customer deposits increased by £12.1 billion as customers sought to retain liquidity and reduced spending.

Alison Rose, Natwest's CEO, said: 'NatWest Group's profit in the first quarter of 2021 is a result of a good operating performance in our core franchises as well as modest impairment releases that reflect the better than expected performance of our loan book across the first three months of the year.

'We continue to make progress against our strategic targets; growing in key areas, simplifying the bank and accelerating our digital transformation to meet the rapidly evolving needs of our customers. We are also pleased that we were able to use some of our excess capital to buy back shares from the UK Government.

She added: 'Defaults remain low as a result of the UK Government support schemes and there are reasons for optimism with the vaccine programmes progressing at pace and restrictions being eased. However, there is continuing uncertainty for our economy and for many of our customers as a result of COVID-19.'

At 8:34am: [LON:NWG] Natwest Group PLC share price was 0p at 147.5p

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