Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has reported a record annual net income of C$11.47bn ($8.94bn) for the 12 months to end October up almost 10% year-on-year, driven by strong performances across its personal and commercial banking, wealth management and capital markets business units.
For the fourth quarter, RBC posted net income of C$2.84bn, up 11.8% on the year ago period and ahead of analyst forecasts.
“We had a great year in 2017, with record earnings of $11.5 billion, driven by robust growth across our businesses. As we reimagine the role we play in our customers’ lives, we are accelerating our digital investments and finding new ways beyond traditional banking to add value to our clients, employees and communities,” said Dave McKay, RBC president and CEO.
Analysts noted approvingly the bank’s ROE of 17% for 2017 and total shareholder returns of 25% while RBC’s strong credit quality is evidenced with just 21 basis points of provisions for credit losses.
Retail banking highlights included:
- For the full financial year, earnings increased by 7% on an underlying basis, mainly due to volume growth of 6%, primarily attributable to solid growth in deposits and residential mortgages;
- In the fourth quarter, RBC’s retail-focussed Personal & Commercial Banking unit earned net income of C$1.4bn up 10% compared to the year-ago quarter;
- Operating leverage of 2.4 % for 2017 -particularly impressive given the rate of volume growth;
- In Q4, Canadian banking loans grew by 6%; deposits increased by 7% YoY;
- Successful launches of NOMI Insights and NOMI Find & Save, two AI-enabled services that provide personalised advice to RBC’s customers clients, helping them to manage their day-today finances and make saving simpler;
- In the past year, RBC was the first bank in Canada to enable bill payments and Interac e-Transfer using Siri voice commands;
RBC ended the financial year with 1,235 branches in Canada, a net reduction of 33 in the past year. Active digital users increased by 7% to 6.3 million customers.
RBC customers’ mobile sessions surpassed that of online banking in the past year with other digital highlights including a 19% rise in active m-banking users to 3.3 million customers.