Royal Bank’s Q2 earnings beat market expectations with 9% profit bump

TORONTO _ Royal Bank of Canada’s second-quarter profit surpassed market expectations with a more than nine per cent jump compared with a year ago, on strong results across its divisions and on both sides of the border.

Canada’s biggest lender by market value reported net income attributable to common shareholders of $2.98 billion or $2.06 per diluted share for the quarter ended April 30, up from $2.72 billion or $1.85 per diluted share a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, RBC says it earned $2.10 per diluted share for the quarter, up from $1.89 a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a profit attributable to shareholders of $2.05 per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

RBC chief executive Dave McKay said the bank maintained good momentum during the quarter.

“Our businesses executed on client-focused growth strategies while continuing to demonstrate strong risk management,” he said in a statement.

The lender’s Canadian personal and small business banking division reported a seven per cent increase in net income to $1.46 billion. And despite a cooling Canadian housing market, RBC’s mortgage growth stayed steady.

RBC had $258 billion in uninsured and insured residential mortgages across Canada at the end of the quarter, up 5.1 per cent from a year earlier. For comparison, RBC had $246 billion in residential mortgages in Canada at the end of the period last year, up 4.9 per cent from $234 billion in the second quarter of 2016.

RBC’s wealth management arm saw a 25 per cent jump in net income to $537 million. The bank said this was largely due to several factors, including an increase in net interest income _ which refers to the profit generated on loans _ due to higher interest rates and a lower effective tax rate in the U.S. after corporate tax cuts which took effect this year.

The bank’s insurance arm saw a four per cent increase in net income to $172 million compared with a year ago, and RBC’s investor and treasury services division’s net income increased 10 per cent to $212 million.

RBC’s capital markets arm, however, saw flat net income of $665 million, due to lower revenue amidst less favourable market conditions.

The bank’s provisions for credit losses, or money set aside for bad loans, was $274 million, down $24 million or eight per cent from the second quarter of 2017. RBC said this was mainly due to lower provisions in wealth management and Capital Markets, partially offset by higher provisions in personal and commercial banking. This is also the second quarter to reflect a new accounting standard that put a greater emphasis on a bank’s expected losses over the life of the loan, and in turn, introduce more volatility to the measure.

The bank’s common equity tier 1 ratio, a key measure of the bank’s financial health, was 10.9 per cent, down from 11 per cent in the previous quarter, but up from 10.6 a year ago.

Scott Chan, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, said while RBC’s results were strong across most of its business segments, it was a “low-quality beat benefiting from lower provisions and tax.”