Today, the Executive Committee of Argenta Bank- en Verzekeringsgroep nv presented the group’s annual results.
Argenta Bank- en Verzekeringsgroep achieved a satisfactory result in 2018, against a background of continuing low interest rates and major corporate investments.
Production of home loans for Belgian and Dutch families rose to just under 5 billion euros. Funds raised via current and savings accounts also increased.
Net profit at Group level (IFRS) reduced from EUR 193.4 million to EUR 174.4 million. Despite the low interest rate environment, interest income increased by EUR 33 million. Non-interest (fee) income from the sale of investment funds and branch 23 investment insurance also grew, despite the less favourable investment climate due to economic and geopolitical uncertainties. At the same time, Argenta invested heavily in IT infrastructure, digitization and consultancy, which increased both investment and operating costs. Despite these investments, the cost-income ratio remains under control at 63.7%. Excluding the bank levy, the cost-income ratio is 51.8 %.
Regulatory core equity grew by 3% in 2018 from EUR 1,858 million to EUR 2,026 million. The Common Equity Tier 1 ratio (CRR scope, Danish Compromise) fell from 25.2% to 23.0% (Basel III) but still remains well above the SREP requirement of 9.75%.
The net result at Argenta Spaarbank was EUR 130,0 million, which is somewhat lower than in 2017. The Bank Pool’s liquidity and capital ratios remain excellent and among the strongest in Europe.
Figures published by the European Banking Authority (EBA) tell us that Argenta Spaarbank is Belgium’s best capitalized retail bank. In 2018, rating agency Standard & Poor’s maintained Argenta’s A- rating with positive outlook.
Argenta Assuranties achieved a net result of EUR 52.5 million (BGAAP), following on the exceptionally strong result of EUR 72.6 million in 2017. This is a solid result, with the insurer remaining an important factor of stability for the group profit contribution.
Marc Lauwers, CEO: “Customer trust in and satisfaction with Argenta continue strong. Incoming funds have remained stable. Home loan production has remained at a high level in competitive mortgage markets. Argenta still has major investments ahead of it for further digitization and for meeting regulatory requirements. The group’s solid result allows us to continue to focus on this.”
Geert Ameloot, CFO: “The consequences of the persistently low interest rate environment are still present, but we again saw net interest income rise in 2018. Argenta’s net result is the combined result of a slightly higher net interest result and further rising fee income, offset by higher operating costs and a high level of investments. The growth of mortgage loans was, as in 2017, largely financed in 2018 with funds raised through the securitization of Dutch mortgages. The high liquidity and capital ratios confirm our focus on being a secure and safe bank-insurer for our customers.”
For the full press release, we refer to the pdf below.