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Scottish vote a threat for NAB's UK bank

Scottish vote a threat for NAB's UK bank
The looming Scottish independence vote could pose further problems for National Australia Bank's troubled UK operations.

A weekend poll put Scotland's pro-independence camp ahead for the first time, less than two weeks out from the referendum.

NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn said in August a vote in favour of independence may cause extra costs and risks for Clydesdale Bank, which is headquartered in Glasgow.

NAB's British operations have been a problem for the bank since the global financial crisis, costing it billions in capital injections and bad debt charges.

Credit Suisse analysts say a vote to end Scotland's 300-year-old union with England could cause a rise in Clydesdale's bad debt charges.

The likely flow of English pounds out of Scotland sparked by a vote for independence, would pose a risk to the stability of the country's financial system, the analysts said.

'(Our UK economists) see Scotland's large financial sector as the potential catalyst for financially and economically destructive capital flows if independence - and different currency arrangements - becomes a real likelihood,' Credit Suisse said.

Almost a quarter of Clydesdale's current loans are held in Scotland.

Clydesdale would also likely shift its head office to England, as many other banks have indicated, which could cost it up to almost 50 per cent of its annual earnings in the current financial year, Credit Suisse said.

A vote for Scottish independence would also hamper any efforts by NAB to offload Clydesdale, as it would probably result in caution taking hold in its financial system in the short-term, Credit Suisse said.

The analysts said the possible costs to Clydesdale of Scottish independence would only be a small portion of NAB's earnings.

Author: AAP


Last modified onTuesday, 09 September 2014 03:20

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