Newswatch: Control gives back the edge

The Bank of Scotland is expected to announce pre-tax of profits of around #850m in its full-year results next week, and analysts say the #108m lift from last year is due to the bank’s excellent financial management.

Unlike other players, the bank has been careful to limit its exposure in Asia and Russia, under the guidance of general manager for accounting and finance Gordon McQueen.

Although this planning has been balanced by slower lending growth in the first half of last year, analysts forecast an increase in pre-tax profits both this year and next. By 2000, profits are expected to hit #935m.

One analyst said: ‘There has been very little upheaval at the bank and it has always maintained a consistent approach. Many think it is one of the most successful management structures.’

But he adds the financial controls could be put under increased pressure, as many commentators see the domestic economy reaching a turning point.

‘We will be waiting to see what the bank’s future plans are and how it will cope with the expected changes,’ said the analyst.

Bank of Scotland has said its large exposure to the UK mortgage market will afford some protection if the credit side of the business suffers a downturn.

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