Record loan growth at ATB Financial tempered by substantial ABCP provision

    EDMONTON, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - Record loan growth at ATB Financial ("ATB")
highlighted a third quarter that also saw another substantial provision for
asset-backed commercial paper ("ABCP").
    ATB recorded a net loss of $85.8 million in the third quarter after
realizing a $140-million increase in ATB's provision for potential losses on
ABCP. Excluding the impact of provisions for ABCP, net income for this quarter
was $54.2 million, down 25.2% from last year's third quarter. The drop
reflects the impact of decreases in the prime lending rate, Canada's
competitive deposit market and increased operating expenses.
    At December 31, 2008, ATB's results show assets of $25.7 billion (up
12.1% from last year's third quarter), net loans of $21.4 billion (up 13.3%)
and deposits, excluding wholesale of $20.2 billion (up 15.5%). Operating
revenue, excluding the ABCP provision, was $226.2 million, up 7.4%.
    Albertans continue to regard ATB as a trusted partner - particularly in
challenging economic times - as the institution's business loans grew to $8.6
billion (up 21.8% from last year's third quarter), and personal loans grew to
$4.8 billion (up 23.3%).
    "Despite what Albertans might have heard about credit drying up or even
disappearing, our loan activity demonstrates the power of 163 branches and
more than 4,600 associates eager to serve our customers," said Dave Mowat,
ATB's President and CEO.
    "We are growing and we are using our experience - through 70 years of
good times and bad - to meet the financial needs of more Albertans than ever.
Our commitment to this province is based on our knowledge of its strengths,
which don't change with economic cycles."
    Mowat also noted that ATB's holdings in ABCP were restructured on January
21, 2009. The institution's $1.14-billion principal investment in ABCP has
been converted to longer-term notes that reach maturity in six to nine years.
    "ABCP was a challenging issue for our organization, and we're eager to
move forward with the benefit of lessons learned and an even stronger emphasis
on our customers and associates," Mowat said.

    Operational Highlights

    Personal and Business Financial Services (PBFS) - ATB's largest line of
business includes branches and agencies throughout Alberta. Assets, primarily
consisting of loans, have grown $1.8 billion, or 11.7% over the last year.
Operating revenue increased from the third quarter last year by $5.9 million,
or 3.9%.

    Corporate Financial Services (CFS) - This line of business provides
services to Alberta's mid- and senior-market companies in three sub-lines -
Energy, Commercial, and Food & Forestry. CFS's assets have grown $1.4 billion,
or 38.0% over the last year. Operating revenue increased from the third
quarter last year by $17.4 million, or 68.5%.

    ATB Investor Services (IS) - This line of business is responsible for
growing and protecting wealth for more than 45,000 customers. In the quarter
ended December 31, 2008, client assets under management and administration
were $3.8 billion, down $166.8 million from the third quarter last year. Net
assets gathered were $110.7 million for the quarter, compared to a net decline
of $13.6 million for the same quarter last year. The fund's success is the
result of a strong portfolio structure and ATB's long-term focus on asset

    ATB in the Community - In the past quarter, ATB raised a record $621,705
for the United Way, breaking its associate-giving goal by nearly $20,000.
Through its ongoing partnership with the Edmonton Oilers, ATB raised $50,000
for the Christmas Bureau Campaign by raffling off signed Oilers jerseys in 28
Edmonton-area branches.

    About ATB Financial - ATB Financial is the largest Alberta-based
financial institution, with assets of $25.7 billion. It provides Personal and
Business Financial Services, Investor Services, and Corporate Financial
Services to more than 660,000 Albertans in 244 communities. It provides
service through 163 branches and 133 agencies, telephone and Internet banking,
a Customer Contact Centre, and Automated Banking Machines. ATB Financial was
established in 1938 and has been a provincial Crown corporation since 1997. It
was recently named one of Canada's 50 Best Employers by Report on Business
    For complete third-quarter financial results, including Management's
Discussion and Analysis, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Shawn Ohler, Director of External and Media
Relations, ATB Financial, (780) 408-6529, e-mail:

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