National Bank of Canada hiked its dividend Thursday as it reported its second-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago, but fell just short of market expectations.
The lender increased its quarterly payment to shareholders by 3¢ to 68¢ per share.
Net income rose in personal and commercial banking, U.S. specialty finance and international, and wealth management divisions, tempered by a slowdown in its financial markets segment.
National Bank chief executive Louis Vachon said the lender had a “solid performance” in its second quarter.
“On the strength of favourable economic fundamentals, our performance was driven by positive momentum in our businesses, disciplined cost management, strong credit quality and solid capital ratios,” he said in a statement.
The Montreal-based bank’s net income for the quarter ended April 30 amounted to $558 million or $1.51 per diluted share, compared with $547 million or $1.44 per diluted share in 2018.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.52 per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.
In its personal and commercial arm, the bank reported net income of $234 million, up 9% from $215 million last year. The bank said personal lending grew, particularly due to mortgage lending, while commercial lending was up 9% from a year earlier.
National Bank’s U.S. specialty finance and international division reported net income of $72 million during the quarter, up 14% from $63 million a year earlier.
The bank’s wealth management arm posted quarterly profits of $118 million, up 5% from $112 million during the same period a year earlier.
In financial markets, however, the bank reported net income of $160 million, down 16% from $190 million in the same quarter in 2018.
Provisions for credit losses, or money set aside for bad loans, during the quarter totalled $84 million, down from $91 million during the same period a year earlier.
The bank’s common equity tier one ratio, a key measure of its financial health, was 11.5% as of April 30, flat with the previous quarter, but higher than the 11.3% it stood at a year prior.