ATB Announces Excellent Operating Results Offset By $79.6 Million Provision For Third Party Asset-Backed Commercial Paper

    EDMONTON, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - ATB Financial reported second quarter earnings
of $8.5 million for the period ending September 30, 2007, net of provisions
totalling $79.6 million for potential losses and restructuring costs on third
party asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP). This provision reduced operating
revenue to $137.6 million, down $48.2 million or 25.95 per cent over the
second quarter of the prior year. Non-interest expenses also increased by
$18.5 million or 16.49 per cent. ATB's equity now stands at $1.7 billion, up
11.63 per cent compared to September 30, 2006.
    "ATB Financial has year-to-date earnings of $73.0 million despite
absorbing a $79.6 million ABCP provision. ATB Financial continues to have an
excellent year and from an operating perspective had one of our strongest
second quarters on record," said Dave Mowat, President and CEO, ATB Financial.
"Although we remain optimistic that a restructuring of these investments will
be successful, we cannot be completely certain of the final outcome. The first
of these trusts to be restructured (Skeena - which represents $91.0 million of
our holdings) has been done at par, however, there is still uncertainty on the
process for the remaining trusts. We will be working diligently toward a
successful restructuring, however, appropriate provisions are being taken at
this time to reflect the situation's uncertainty. The full extent of the ABCP
restructuring should be known by year-end.
    While this is a serious financial event for ATB our core operations
continue to perform well. Investor Services attained $4.0 billion in assets
under administration and management during the quarter, Personal and Business
Financial Services experienced strong loan growth of $516.6 million, and
Corporate Financial Services attained favorable deposit growth of
$72.5 million. It is a testament to the work of ATB associates that we can
absorb a $79.6 million provision and still record positive earnings."

    Highlights of ATB Financial's second-quarter results:
    (for the complete Second Quarter financial results (p/e September 30,
    2007), please visit

    -   Net income of $8.5 million, down 90.90 per cent, due to $79.6 million
        ABCP provision
    -   Total assets of $22.5 billion, up 16.21 per cent.
    -   Net loans of $18.2 billion, up 13.51 per cent.
    -   Total deposits of $20.2 billion, up 16.25 per cent.
    -   Investor Services assets under administration and management of
        $4.04 billion, up 35.69 per cent
    -   Operating revenue of $137.6 million, down 25.95 per cent.
    -   Efficiency ratio (non-interest expenses as a percentage of operating
        revenues) decreased to 59.71 per cent from 60.28 per cent, excluding
        all ABCP-related provisions.

    Operational Highlights

    Personal and Business Financial Services - This line of business saw loan
growth in the second quarter of $516.6 million (or 3.63 per cent), which
compares favorably to growth of $360.9 million (or 2.82 per cent) in the
second quarter last year. However, deposit growth of $47.9 million (or 0.33
per cent) was down significantly from growth in the second quarter of the
prior year of $278.0 million (or 2.05 per cent). This trend is expected to
continue and is generally consistent with industry experience.
    Operating revenue increased from the second quarter last year by
$13.1 million or 9.44 per cent.
    Branch Network - During the second quarter, ATB Financial opened two new
branches, one in each of Edmonton and Calgary. Edmonton - The Meadows, our
156th branch was opened in July 2007 and Calgary - Westwinds, our 157th branch
was opened in September 2007.
    ATB Investor Services - ATBIS achieved a significant milestone this
quarter with asset growth of $96.2 million bringing the total assets under
administration and management to over $4.0 billion.
    Corporate Financial Services - CFS is comprised of three sub-lines of
business - Energy, Commercial, and Food & Forestry. The second quarter saw
deposit growth of $72.5 million, a 3.88 per cent growth from the prior
quarter's ending balance. This compares favorably to the small decrease in
deposits in the second quarter of the prior year.
    Loan balances remained relatively flat in the second quarter compared to
growth of $341.5 million (or 12.99 per cent) in the second quarter last year.
This is due to the managed pay-down of certain loans and the reduced activity
in the land development, home-builder, and energy servicing sectors.
    Operating revenue of $24.9 million in the second quarter compares
favorably to operating revenue of $18.5 million generated in the second
quarter of the prior year.

    Asset Backed Commercial Paper

    As announced on August 24, 2007, ATB held $1.2 billion of third-party or
non-bank asset backed commercial paper ("ABCP") in our corporate investment
portfolio. Our second quarter results include provisions for losses and
restructuring costs amounting to $79.6 million in respect of our ABCP
    The Canadian market for third party sponsored ABCP suffered a liquidity
disruption in mid-August 2007 following which a group of financial
institutions and other parties agreed, pursuant to the Montreal Accord (the
"Accord"), to a standstill period in respect of ABCP sold by twenty-three
conduit issuers. Participants to the Accord also agreed in principle to the
conversion of the ABCP investments into longer-term financial instruments with
maturities corresponding to the underlying assets. A Pan-Canadian Investors
Committee was subsequently established to oversee the orderly restructuring of
these instruments during this standstill period. The signatories to the
Montreal Accord have recently agreed to extend the standstill period to
December 14, 2007. ATB is a signatory to the Accord, a member of the Investors
Committee, and is actively involved in the restructuring process.
    As of September 30, 2007, ATB held a variety of investments in ABCP
totaling $1.2 billion. Of these holdings, investments in twelve conduits
amounting to $1.1 billion are subject to the Montreal Accord.
    In the absence of an active market for third party ABCP during the
standstill period, ATB has estimated the fair value of these assets using a
valuation model. The valuation incorporates management's best estimates of
credit risk attributable to underlying assets, the relevant market interest
rate, and assumptions regarding the likelihood that the restructuring process
will proceed as outlined by the Investors Committee. ATB has recorded a
$77.6 million provision for losses reflecting our estimated reduction in the
fair value of these investments as at September 30, 2007. Further, ATB has
accrued a $2.0 million provision for its estimated share of restructuring
costs associated with the Montreal Accord. These amounts are included in our
operating results for the second quarter under the headings Other Income and
Non-Interest Expenses, respectively.
    ATB's estimate of the fair value of the third party sponsored ABCP
investments as at September 30, 2007 is subject to significant uncertainty.
The resolution of these uncertainties could be such that the ultimate fair
value of these investments may vary significantly from management's current
best estimate and the magnitude of any such difference could be material to
our financial results.
    To ensure ATB maintained its strong liquidity position following the ABCP
market disruption, additional investments were made in other liquid assets
funded through the issuance of short- and mid-term notes. The liquidity
disruption in the Canadian market for third party sponsored ABCP has had no
other significant impact on ATB's operations or financial position.

    ATB in the Community

    ATB Financial has a 69-year tradition of investing in communities across
Alberta. Our competitive advantage is our people. ATB associates are actively
involved in the communities where they live, work, and raise their families.
During the quarter, ATB sponsored a number of events including:

    -   Chuck wagon driver Chad Harden at the Calgary Stampede;
    -   The Edmonton Grand Prix, including the ATB Financial
        Go-Kart Track; and
    -   The Lethbridge Air Show.

    Each and every quarter, throughout the province, ATB's presence in the
community is magnified by the compassion and generosity of our associates as
demonstrated by their involvement in their local communities. We have a
special program, Community Stars, which recognizes ATB associates who
volunteer for a number of not-for-profit organizations across the province.
ATB also makes a financial contribution on their behalf to salute their
    ATB's seventh annual STARS air ambulance campaign concluded in September.
Eighteen central Alberta and Calgary branches raised $60,280 during the
three-week campaign, bringing the total donated to STARS through corporate
donations and fundraising to over $610,000.

    Second Quarter - Economic Review & Outlook

    Alberta's economy remains a growth leader in Canada. Nonetheless,
expansion has slowed noticeably since the summer. Several factors have
contributed to this slowdown.
    Soft gas prices - combined with high drilling costs - have been largely
responsible for the slowdown in Alberta's energy sector this year (with
drilling activity down by about twenty-five per cent). It is unlikely gas
prices will rise significantly as forecasts for this winter are for above
normal temperatures and inventories are currently high.
    The rise of the Canadian dollar to well above par against the US dollar
has weighed heavily on Alberta's exporters. The value of sales of gas, beef,
forest products, and crude oil is being severely constrained by the soaring
loonie, and tourism operators are also negatively affected.
    ATB Financial's Business Sentiments Index(TM) for the fourth calendar
quarter of 2007 was 150.0, down slightly from the 152.5 level in the third
quarter, but still up solidly from the 140.3 in the second quarter. Business
sentiment and hiring intentions are especially buoyant in northeastern
Alberta. However, it is unclear whether this overall sentiment will remain as
robust going into the first Business Sentiments Index survey in 2008.
    Despite some setbacks, Alberta's economy is still in extremely good
shape. Housing price increases are moderating to healthier levels, and
inflation appears to be easing to under 5 per cent. It is expected that
Alberta's real GDP will again lead the country in 2007 and 2008, with growth
in the range of 3 per cent - 4 per cent.

    About ATB Financial

    ATB Financial is the largest Alberta-based financial institution in
Canada with assets of $22.5 billion that provides Personal and Business
Financial Services, Investor Services, and Corporate Financial Services. ATB
Financial serves more than 600,000 Albertans in 244 communities through 157
branches and 134 agencies. Services are also available through a Customer
Contact Centre, Automated Banking Machines, Internet and telephone. ATB
Financial was established in 1938 and is a provincial Crown corporation since
1997. For further information about ATB Financial, visit

    Caution Regarding Forward Looking Statements

    This report may include forward-looking statements. ATB Financial from
time to time may make forward-looking statements in other written or verbal
communications. These statements may involve, but are not limited to, comments
relating to ATB's objectives or targets for the short and medium term, our
strategies or actions planned to achieve those objectives, targeted and
expected financial results and the outlook for our operations or the Alberta
economy. Forward-looking statements typically use the words "anticipate",
"believe", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "may", "plan" or other similar
expressions or future or conditional verbs such as "could", "should", "would"
or "will".
    By their very nature, forward-looking statements require ATB's management
to make numerous assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and
uncertainties, both general and specific. A number of factors could cause
actual future results, conditions, actions or events to differ materially from
the targets, expectations, estimates or intentions expressed in the
forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to:
changes in our legislative or regulatory environment; changes in ATB's
markets; technological changes; changes in general economic conditions,
including fluctuations in interest rates, currency values and liquidity
conditions; and other developments, including the degree to which ATB
anticipates and successfully manages the risks implied by such factors.
    ATB cautions readers that the aforementioned list is not exhaustive.
Anyone reading and relying on forward-looking statements should carefully
consider these and other factors that could potentially have an adverse affect
on ATB's future results, as there is a significant risk that forward-looking
statements will not prove to be accurate.
    Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as
actual results may differ materially from plans, objectives and expectations.
ATB does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement contained in
this report.

For further information:

For further information: Marvin Polis, Acting Director, Corporate
Communications, ATB Financial, (780) 408-7307, E-mail:

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