Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has posted
first quarter net income of C$1.49bn ($1.44bn), up 25% from the
corresponding period last year.

RBC’s Canadian Banking unit (incorporating
personal financial services, business banking and the bank’s cards
unit) posted net profits of C$777m for the three months to 31
January, up 11.6% year-on-year.

RBC president and CEO Gordon Nixon said: “Our
results in Canadian Banking reflect strong volume growth and market
share gains across most products. Solid revenue growth coupled with
our ongoing focus on cost management drove an efficiency ratio of
45.7% [first quarter 2009, 47.7%].”

The bank’s domestic retail net interest margin
remained flat at 2.80% (first quarter 2009, 2.81%).

Total retail lending rose by 8.2% from the
year-ago-quarter to C$208.3bn while retail deposits increased by
9.4% to C$155.8bn.

Losses at RBC’s international unit –
incorporating its US and Caribbean units as well as a 50% stake in
RBC Dexia – reduced to C$57m from C$100m in the corresponding
period last year.

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Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canada’s fourth-largest
bank, reported first quarter net income of C$657m, almost three
times the C$225m earned in the corresponding period last year.

Net earnings at BMO’s Canadian retail division
increased by 28% to C$403m. The unit was boosted by volume growth
across most products and an improved net interest margin of 2.86%,
up from 2.62% a year ago.

Net income at the bank’s personal and
commercial unit in the US was C$16m, down C$12m or 43% from a year

In the US, revenues from improved loan spreads
were more than offset by decreased deposit spreads and an increase
in the impact of impaired loans.