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Optimism spreads to NatWest as the bank’s profits approach £1bn

The bank, 60 per cent of which is owned by the government, released a “modest” £102 million in capital
The bank, 60 per cent of which is owned by the government, released a “modest” £102 million in capital
ALAMY

NatWest has followed HSBC and Lloyds in releasing cash that it no longer needs to cover bad loans — a decision that helped to lift its profits to £946 million in the first three months of the year, reinforcing a picture of growing optimism among banks.

The 60 per cent government-owned lender released £102 million, less than Lloyds’ £323 million and HSBC’s $400 million (£287 million), and said that it would update its forecasts for growth and employment rates in the summer.

Alison Rose, 51, NatWest’s chief executive, acknowledged that the credit was “modest”and said that it had been driven by improvements in some customers’ positions rather than a change in NatWest’s forecasts. She also struck a more cautious tone about growth and the uncertainty