Co-op Bank halves loss in nine months

The Co-operative Bank has nearly halved its loss in the first nine months of the year.

Loss before tax was £68 million across the first three quarters, down from nearly £119 million a year earlier, the bank said on Friday.

Bosses said they had taken an impairment charge of £16.7 million, largely because of the impacts of Covid-19.

They are still reviewing what effect a second national lockdown in England will have on their economic assumptions, meaning that the impairment level is under review.

Chief executive Nick Slape presented his first set of results after being appointed to the job last month, becoming its sixth boss in a decade.

The former finance chief said: “I’m proud to become CEO of such a stand-out banking brand and to be leading the organisation at a time when we have an important role to play in supporting our customers and our communities.

“This is a challenging time for all banks, given the uncertain economic outlook and continuing low base rate, but, whilst we remain loss-making, as anticipated in our plan, the results also show our resilience as we continue to make significant progress in our turnaround.”

The bank has lent money to more than 8,000 small businesses through two of the Government’s Covid-19 support schemes – Bounce Back Loans and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

House-buyers have been coming out in force, as many people look to change the homes they have been stuck in during lockdown, Mr Slape added.

“New mortgage lending in the quarter is higher than we had anticipated at £530 million, partly as a result of buyers seeking to benefit from the stamp duty holiday currently available, and we have a strong pipeline of applications going into the final quarter,” he said.