Co-op Bank takes £12m Covid-19 hit in first quarter

Manchester-based Co-operative Bank said on Wednesday the impact of Covid-19 negatively affected its statutory loss before tax by about £12 million.

In a first quarter trading update, Co-operative Bank said its statutory loss before tax improved slightly to £27 million from £28.6 million for the same period last year.

Co-operative Bank said it made an underlying loss in the quarter of £14.3 million compared to a £5.1 million loss in the 2019 first quarter.

Net interest income (NII) fell £22.9 million to £64.8 million in the quarter.

Co-operative Bank said almost 15,000 mortgage payment holidays requests were received by April 30, about 10% of the bank’s mortgage book.

The self-styled “ethical bank” continues to recover from a number of scandals that resulted in a rescue by a group of hedge funds in 2017.

The Manchester-based bank provides a full range of banking products and services to about 3.5 million retail and 85,000 small and medium sized enterprises.

Co-operative Bank CEO Andrew Bester said: “As the UK navigates this extraordinary and unprecedented crisis, banks have a critical role to play in keeping the economy moving and I am proud and grateful for the work of all colleagues in providing the financial support our personal and small business customers need.

“All of our branches and contact centres have adapted and are open to serve customers safely throughout this period and we are providing payment holidays for approximately 17,000 mortgage, loans and credit card customers to date, and additional overdraft facilities for over 350,000 current account customers.

“Since our accreditation for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme we have worked tirelessly to make these facilities available.

“This is now live for our SME customers and we have started to process customers’ applications.

“We are now working to be able to offer Bounce Back Loans as soon as possible.

“There is much more to do, but we are committed to helping individuals and small businesses through the financial strain they are facing, and we hope we can make a difference to helping drive economic and social recovery in the months ahead.

“Becoming a true SME challenger at a time when businesses need it remains a priority for us, and we are building momentum.

“Customers are trusting us with more of their deposits, which are up 11% year on year, and since the start of the crisis that growth has nearly doubled. 

“Our SME banking transformation is on track, fuelled by our BCR funding alongside investment of our own, and we are attracting 16% of Incentivised Switching Scheme customers against our target of 6%.

“Retail deposits from our core savings customer base have also increased, and our current account customer satisfaction levels are the highest they have been since 2013 with an NPS rating of +30. 

“As we look forward, clearly the year ahead will be challenging and, like others, we will need to reprioritise investment spend, given expected pressure on income in a low base rate environment.

“We have examined the potential impact of the crisis on the Bank and are satisfied we are in a position of resilience.

“The progress made in our transformation programme, including de-risking the Bank and the significant investment in IT systems, means we face into this new economic environment with a strong CET1 ratio, a low-risk mortgage book, improved digital propositions and our distinctive ethical brand.

“Taking care of our loyal customers throughout this unprecedented and uncertain period is our foremost priority, and the significant headway we have made in transforming the Bank puts us in a good position to do so.”