Clydesdale and Yorkshire profits jump

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The Independent Online

The owner of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks has pledged to maintain its cautious approach to UK trading, despite seeing an 11 per cent rise in half-year profits and an improved trend on bad and doubtful debts.

National Australia Bank said the fundamentals of its UK operation were strong, after an increase in underlying profits to £264m for the six months to 31 March. The figure excludes its charge for bad and doubtful debts, which increased by 9 per cent, or £15m, on a year earlier but was down 28 per cent on the previous half year.

The bank said it remains committed to last year's pledge to deliver £10bn of new business and mortgage-lending by October 2011. National Australia has around 2.7 million UK customers through Glasgow-based Clydesdale Bank, which incorporates the Yorkshire Bank brand. The business has a total of 340 branches and is thought to be considering making bids for UK banking assets.