NatWest returns to profit after heavy Covid hits

The bank said it will pay £1.3bn back to shareholders through a 7.5p-per-share dividend.

18 February 2022

NatWest swung to a huge profit in the past year as the Government-backed bank released more money it held to one side during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bank reported an operating pre-tax profit of £4 billion in 2021, up from an operating pre-tax loss of £481 million a year earlier.

During the year it put £1.3 billion back on to its balance sheet from the £3.2 billion put aside during the pandemic, including £341 million in the final three months of the year.

Shareholders are to receive £3.8 billion through a dividend of 7.5p a share, and a £750 million share buyback scheme was announced, which removes stock from circulation in an attempt to boost its price.

This includes £1.7 billion to the taxpayer, with the Government owning a stake of just under 51%.

The bonus pool for NatWest’s bankers increase from £200 million to £298 million, it added.

NatWest Chief Executive Officer Alison Rose
NatWest chief executive Alison Rose hailed a strong set of results (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Chief executive Alison Rose said it was a strong performance but sounded a note of caution for the year ahead for customers.

“We are acutely aware of the challenges that many people, families and businesses continue to face up and down the country and are working alongside our customers to provide the support they need – whether that is managing their money better, saving for a house or retirement, or starting or growing a new business – as well as playing a leading role in the transition to net zero,” she said.

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