CWB Financial Group

CWB reports record quarterly revenues driven by very strong loan growth

Edmonton, March 2, 2011 – Canadian Western Bank (TSX: CWB) today announced very strong financial performance marking the Bank’s 91st consecutive profitable quarter. First quarter net income increased 10% to $44.0 million compared to the same quarter last year while diluted earnings per common share increased 4% to $0.54. Record quarterly total revenues (teb) of $121.8 million grew 21% and reflect the combined positive impact of a 32 basis point improvement in net interest margin (teb), 17% loan growth and strong other income. All key performance metrics were positively impacted by the acquisition of National Leasing Group Inc. (National Leasing) except, as expected, the provision for credit losses.

First quarter net income for the banking and trust segment of $41.4 million was up 13% over a year earlier. A significant improvement in net interest margin, strong loan growth and a 15% increase in other income helped push banking and trust segment total revenues (teb) up 24% to a record $115.4 million. Quarterly net income from the insurance segment was $2.5 million, down $0.8 million compared to a year earlier as the positive impact of 6% growth in net earned premiums was more than offset by a lower contribution from the Alberta auto risk sharing pools.
“Our very strong first quarter performance is a great way to start the year and we believe there are reasons for continued optimism, including the significant economic potential in our western Canadian markets,” said Larry Pollock, President and CEO. “While we expect there will be ongoing challenges, including increased competition, most of the key variables considered in our outlook are definitely leaning in CWB’s favour.”

“The Bank’s solid capital base was further bolstered this quarter with the conversion of a significant block of warrants to CWB common shares. While the accounting treatment is dilutive as it relates to reported earnings per share, the additional capital increases our flexibility to take advantage of future growth opportunities. We continue to evaluate ways to most effectively deploy capital for the long-term benefit of CWB shareholders, and we believe our capital strength will become even more apparent as Canadian banks begin the transition to Basel III capital standards,” added Pollock.