NatWest reports £1bn profit boost as bank gripped by Farage account row

It follows the resignation of NatWest’s chief executive Dame Alison Rose on Wednesday morning.

NatWest reports £1bn profit boost as bank gripped by Farage account row iStock

NatWest Group’s profits have surged by nearly £1bn, beating expectations as the bank faces scrutiny from shareholders after the departure of its boss this week.

The British bank, which has been embroiled in a row involving Nigel Farage over the closure of his bank account, reported a “strong” financial performance for the first half of the year.

Its operating pre-tax profit leaped to £3.6bn in the six months to the end of June, up from £2.6bn the same time last year.

Analysts had been expecting a lower profit of £3.3bn for the latest half-year.

The lender, which is backed by the taxpayer, has benefited from higher interest rates, which has pushed up the cost of borrowing, and greater mortgage lending.

But the financial results come at a time of volatility for the group, with chief executive Dame Alison Rose resigning in the early hours of Wednesday after admitting to being the source of an incorrect BBC report on Mr Farage’s finances.

The boss of Coutts, the bank which shut down Mr Farage’s account and is owned by NatWest, also stepped down on Thursday.

Senior bosses of the group are set to face the scrutiny of shareholders and journalists on Friday morning.

NatWest’s chief financial officer, Katie Murray, said it was a “strong performance” for the first half of the year.

She added: “Although arrears remain low, we know that people, families and businesses are anxious about their finances and many are really struggling.

“We are being proactive in our support for those who are hardest hit, helping to build the financial resilience of the customers and communities we serve.”

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