National Bank of Canada NA
Q3 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 08/25/2011

Operator: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the National Bank Financial Group Third Quarter 2011 Results Conference Call. I’d now like to turn the meeting over to Ms. Helene Baril, Director of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Ms. Baril.

Helene Baril - Senior Director, IR: Thank you. Good afternoon and thank you for joining National Bank Third Quarter 2011 Results Conference Call. In a few moments, Louis Vachon, President and CEO, will start the call with his opening remarks, then Patricia Curadeau-Grou, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer will present the Bank’s overall performance as well as the risk and capital management review.

Following our comments, Jean Dagenais, Senior Vice President, Finance, Taxation and Investor Relations, will present results of the three main business segments. At the end of the formal presentation, we will take your questions. Please note that Rejean Levesque, Executive Vice President, P&C Banking; Luc Paiement, Executive Vice President, Wealth Management; Ricardo Pascoe, Executive Vice President, Financial Markets; and Bill Bonnell, Chief Risk Officer will also be on hand to answer your question.

I’d like to remind you that all documents referred to in today’s conference call can be found on our website at in the Investor Relation Section. In addition, please note that the caution regarding forward-looking statements shown on Slide 2 applies to our presentation and comments.

With that over to you, Mr. Vachon.

Louis Vachon - President and CEO: Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today. In the third quarter of 2011, the Bank delivered very good results despite the current uncertainties affecting the global economic environment. Reported net earnings amounted to $312 million or $1.84 on a per share basis, up 18% from the same period last year. Adjusted net earnings reached $293 million or $1.72 on a per share basis, representing an increase of 10% from Q3 2010. Credit quality remained solid with PCLs reaching $26 million or 16 basis points. Return on equity was strong at 17.5%.

The Tier 1 ratio under Basel II and the common equity Tier 1 ratio under Basel III were at 13.9% and 8% respectively. For 2012, our base case scenario is forecasting a softer domestic environment, with real GDP growth ranging from 1% to 2%. We do not expect a recession. Therefore, we currently plan no change in our risk appetite or capital management strategies.

Nevertheless, ongoing instability at the global level has a potential to place further pressure on the Canadian economy. We are ready to implement such adjustments, if necessary. Moreover, expense management will remain a priority.

With strong capital, diversified funding sources, and sound credit portfolio we continue to be well positioned to pursue our strategy. We intend to invest in the Bank’s franchise through the 'One Client, One Bank' program and seize growth opportunities in Canada.

In terms of opportunities, we are observing two major trends in Canada. First, some foreign financial institutions are exiting segments of the Canadian financial service industry. In the last few months, we were able to benefit from this with the acquisition of three credit retail portfolios from non-domestic players.

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