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NatWest investors to share £1.8bn special dividend as profits rise

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NatWest said it has set aside £4m for a hardship fund (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
NatWest said it has set aside £4m for a hardship fund (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

NatWest has posted an increase in profits and will give shareholders a special £1.8 billion payout, but acknowledged that its customers are being hit by rises to the cost of living.

The banking group said pre-tax operating profit hit £2.6 billion in the last six-month period, up 13% and ahead of what analysts had predicted.

Income was £6.2 billion during the same period.

The company said it has released £46 million from the impairment charges that it had previously set aside for a rainy day.

It declared an interim dividend of 3.5p per share and a special dividend of 16.8p per share, or £1.8 billion.

Chief executive Alison Rose said: “NatWest Group delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2022, building on two years of progress against our strategic priorities.

“We are growing our lending to customers and continuing our £3 billion investment programme to create a simpler and better banking experience whilst delivering sustainable dividends and returns for our shareholders.”

The business said it has proactively contacted 2.7 million customers so far this year to offer support and information on what they can do as prices soar.

The business also launched an online hub where people can access resources and tools to find out what support they can get.

It has also set up a £4 million hardship fund that is delivered by Citizens Advice, StepChange and Money Advice Trust.

Ms Rose said: “We know that continued increases in the cost of living are impacting people, families and businesses across the UK, and we have put in place a range of targeted measures to support those who are likely to need it most.

“Our strong levels of profitability and capital generation mean we are well positioned to provide this support.

“By building deeper relationships with our customers at every stage of their lives, we will deliver sustainable growth and help them to thrive in a challenging environment.”

The bank said it has handed out £661 million of green mortgages over the first six months of the year. These give lower interest rates to homes that are more energy-efficient.

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