Royal Bank of Canada Beats Estimates as Smaller Units Grow

By Allison Prang Features Dow Jones Newswires

Royal Bank of Canada reported a higher profit in its latest quarter as it was helped by growth in its smaller segments like wealth management and capital markets.

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The bank, which earlier this month said it had been designated a systemically important institution by the Switzerland-based Financial Stability Board, reported earnings of C$2.83 billion (or $2.2 billion), or C$1.88 a share, compared with C$2.53 billion, or C$1.65 a share a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were predicting a profit of C$1.87 a share.

The Royal Bank of Canada has been going through cost cuts to help pay for investments in digital technology. For the quarter, noninterest expenses were C$5.61 billion, up 5.9% from the same period a year ago. The Royal Bank of Canada is also part of a multibank blockchain program rolled out last month that allows for more secure payments to other countries. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is also part of the program.

Total revenue rose 12% to C$10.52 billion. The bank's net interest margin expanded by 2 basis points to 1.72%.

Net income in the company's personal and commercial banking unit rose 10% to C$1.4 billion. Net income from wealth management was up 24% to C$491 million. Net income for insurance and capital markets rose 16% and 21% respectively. Investor and treasury services reported a 10% decline in net income compared with a year ago.

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Loans, the net of what was allotted for loan losses, rose 4% to C$542.62 billion. In September, the bank increased its prime lending rate to 3.2%, up 25 basis points.

The bank also announced Wednesday that its Group Chief Risk Officer Mark Hughes would retire April 9 and will be replaced by Graeme Hepworth. Mr. Hepworth will become deputy chief risk officer Feb. 1. Mr. Hughes, who has held his position since 2013, has worked for the bank for 37 years.

During the fourth quarter, the Royal Bank of Canada completed a share buyback program and bought back 5 million shares for C$462.8 million.

Shares were unchanged in premarket trading. Year to date, shares are up 11%.

Write to Allison Prang at allison.prang@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 29, 2017 07:33 ET (12:33 GMT)