National Australia Bank’s
(NAB) enthusiasm for retaining its UK-based Clydesdale and
Yorkshire Bank brands is once again in doubt.

NAB CEO Cameron Clyne said
in a statement on 7 February:

“NAB has commenced a
strategic review, and will work with UK management to appropriately
reposition its business mix and structure for the changed economic
environment and improve returns.”

Almost inevitably the
review will result in NAB scaling back its UK operations ahead of
an eventual sale.

NAB will reveal the outcome
of its UK review by May.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire
have around 330 branches in the UK serving 2.7m

NAB said that operating
conditions deteriorated during the three months to 31 December
resulting in lower earnings for its UK operations.

Net interest margin
declined due to increased wholesale funding costs, higher deposit
costs and increased liquid asset holdings. Lending activity was
subdued and fees were lower as a result of a further slowdown in
economic activity.

The ratio of 90+ days past
due and gross impaired assets to gross loans and acceptances
increased from 3.12% at 30 September 2011 to 3.22% at 31