National Bank of Canada hikes dividend as profit beats on growth across units

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National Bank of Canada’s fourth-quarter profit beat analysts’ expectations on Wednesday, helped by growth across segments.

National also increased its dividend 4 per cent to $0.71 per common share.

Net income rose 5 per cent to $270 million in its personal and commercial banking unit and 10 per cent to $130 million in its wealth management business.

Canada’s sixth-largest lender’s loans grew 5 per cent to $153.25 billion in the quarter, with mortgage loans climbing nearly 6 per cent to $80.21 billion, despite stringent lending rules introduced by Canada’s financial regulators in January 2018.

Total loan-loss provisions, or the money a bank sets aside to cover unpaid loans, increased nearly 22 per cent in the fourth quarter ended Oct 31.

National Bank of Canada net income rose to $604 million, or $1.67 per share, from $566 million, or $1.52 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the bank earned $1.69 per share, beating average analysts’ estimate of $1.62, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.