National Bank reports €260M profits in the first quarter of 2023
National Bank reports €260M profits in the first quarter of 2023

National Bank reports €260M profits in the first quarter of 2023

Strong momentum for 2023 despite slowing economic activity in the Eurozone.
RE+D magazine

National Bank reported increasing core income and contained operating costs push core RoTE to c15% vs a FY23 target of c11%.

According to the bank, the group sustained NII recovery, at +18% qoq in 1Q23, is driven by PE loan growth (+€2.1bn or 8% yoy) and ECB base rate repricing offsetting higher deposit and MREL-related costs; NIM up by nearly 50bps qoq.

Fee income growth at +11% yoy (adjusted for the deconsolidation of the merchant acquiring business), reflects double-digit growth in retail and corporate businesses, with growth spearheaded by cards, deposit product bundles, and trade finance related fees.

Operating expenses remain relatively contained, with personnel and G&As up by +3% yoy, reflecting the agreed-upon sectoral wage increases and inflation, respectively, while increased depreciation charges (+11% yoy) derive from our strategic IT investment plan; strong core income growth leads our Group C:CI lower by c17ppts yoy to a historic low of 34% in 1Q23.

CoR at 70bps on the back of zero organic formation, comparing favorably to the FY23 guidance of c80bps.

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NBG's CEO Pavlos Mylonas comment on the results

“The Greek economy has had a strong start in 2023, despite the headwinds from the slowdown in the euro area and the sharp tightening in monetary policy by the ECB, reflecting its increased competitiveness following a multi-year restructuring effort. Activity appears to be trending in the 2.5-3.0% range, led by tourism and fixed investments with further upside risks. As a result, all key indicators are improving rapidly; unemployment is heading to below 10%, the primary fiscal balance is experiencing a solid surplus, real estate prices continue to climb, and economic sentiment indicators keep rising. The combination of the positive macroeconomic backdrop, with the results of the multi-year transformation and the comparative advantages provided by a solid balance sheet have permitted NBG to maintain momentum and deliver strong results in the first quarter of 2023. 

Our core income experienced robust growth, increasing by 14% qoq on a recurring basis, while operating costs and credit risk charges were contained, despite the repercussions of the energy and non-energy commodity price shocks. Overall, the Bank delivered a core PAT of €228m in 1Q23, and for the first time in many years, the core RoTE was solidly above our cost of equity. A key component of our success remains our solid capital and liquidity, with surplus positions in both cases. Indeed, capital continues to strengthen from strong organic generation. On the liquidity front, NBG’s traditional deposit base, comprising mainly of the core deposits of many small depositors, provides an important, and relatively scarce, advantage in a period of much tighter liquidity conditions. Importantly, reflecting the strong economic fundamentals, the Bank’s asset quality has not experienced any deterioration, with no increase in NPEs; early delinquencies also remained contained. The banking-sector initiative to support vulnerable borrowers and to cap further increases in variable-rate mortgages, combined with Government policies to protect household incomes from the increase in energy prices should also shield asset quality going forward. 

The rapidly improving performance of the economy bodes well for Greece’s upgrade to investment grade status. Moreover, the decline in energy and commodity prices are leading to a faster-than-anticipated decline in consumer inflation, already at 4.5% in April, which should boost confidence further. In this positive environment, NBG continues to provide strong support to the economy -net credit expansion stands at double digits yoy for the corporate sectorbut is also a key contributor to the economy’s rapid digital transformation, with its multiple offerings of digital services providing the impetus. NBG expects to play a similar role as regards the drive to contain carbon emissions. These roles reflect the historic character of NBG, as a leader for positive change and make us the Bank of first choice.”