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National Australia Bank: 3rd Quarter Trading Update

In its third quarter trading update NAB provided an update on its strategy but nothing that materially changed our view on them as an issuer. The capital planning questions were largely covered with the recent capital raising  (core tier 1 ratio stood at 9.94%  and we expect a ~0.50% increase post the sale of GWB and the NAB Wealth reinsurance placement) but the UK exit seems far from over with provisioning requirements continuing to grow (~GBP400-500 million increase in conduct provisions expected in FY15).  This increase will be included in the bonding requirement put in place as part of the UK, exist strategy. Headline result was strong with cash earnings of $1.75 billion, up 9% versus the prior corresponding period. This was driven by increased lending volumes in mortgage and business lending but offset by continued margin pressure and lower earnings from markets and treasury.

The asset quality was the key focus of this release given the announcement from Genworth (and ANZ) about some weaknesses within the economy. NAB reported a 15% decline in its impairment charge to AUD193M and provisions coverage levels remained broadly unchanged, providing relief from any broader asset quality concerns.