National Bank of Canada NA
Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 03/01/2013

Operator: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the National Bank of Canada First Quarter 2013 Results Conference Call. I would 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 morning and thank you for joining National Bank's first quarter 2013 results conference call. In a few moments Louis Vachon, President and CEO will start the call with his opening remarks. Then Ghislain Parent, CFO and Executive Vice President, Finance and Treasury, will present the overall Bank performance as well as the capital management review. His comments will be followed by the presentation of Bill Bonnell, Executive Vice President, Risk Management who will cover the Bank's Risk Management section. Following his comments Jean Dagenais, Senior Vice President, Finance, Taxation and Investor Relations will cover the business units' results. Then we will take your questions.

Please note that Diane Giard, Executive Vice President, P&C Banking; Ricardo Pascoe, Executive Vice President, Financial Markets; and Luc Paiement, Executive Vice President, Wealth Management will also be on hand to answer your questions.

Please also note that all documents referred to in today's conference call can be found on our website at in the Investor Relations section. I would also like to remind you that a caution regarding forward-looking statements applies to our presentation and comments.

Over to you, Mr. Vachon.

Louis Vachon - President and CEO: Thank you, Helene. Good morning and thank you for joining us today. In the first quarter of 2013 National Bank posted record adjusted net income of C$361 billion or C$2.02 per share, up 2% and 1% respectively from the same period last year. Return on equity was 19.8% and their common equity Tier 1 ratio on their Basel III stood at 7.85%. We continue to deliver excellent financial results in a competitive and slower growth environment, thanks to our (enormous) initiatives to expand our position in the P&C and Wealth Management business units.

In Personal and Commercial Banking loan volume still reaches double-digit growth. The full deployment of our new mortgage platform is expected to start this month as planned. This will enhance client experience, increased cross-selling opportunities and reduced operational costs. In their first quarter of 2013 Wealth Management perfumed very well with earnings increasing by 22% on a year-over-year basis due to a successful integration of our latest acquisitions and more favorable market conditions.

Financial markets also did well with the strong performance in corporate banking and debt underwriting. Lower loan losses helped offset significantly lower investment gains compared to the same period last year.

On the credit side, the bank still enjoys stable condition and their supportive environment to maintain the lowest level provisions for credit losses in the Canadian industry. In the first quarter 2013 PCLs amounted to C$32 million or 14 basis points.

With an economic environment showing moderate GDP growth in 2013, we intend to maintain tight control over our expenses. We anticipate the Bank's operating leverage to be slightly positive for 2013. While we await the regulators update on the (DCIB) status, we are targeting a minimum Basel III ratio of 8% including the negative impact a CVA charge before reactivating the share buyback program. We expect to get to that target by Q4 2013 at the latest. I would like to underline that potential ABCP gains are still very much relevant, as they would positively impact earnings and capital and therefore could allow us to reach the 8% target prior to Q4 2013.

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