Banking performance

All of Northern Ireland’s four main banks are back in profit according to the latest banking statistics for the past six months. All-island Bank of Ireland became the last of the four to release its figures revealing a pre-tax profit of £46 million for its UK operations for the first six months of 2016. The Bank of Ireland operates 35 branches in Northern Ireland and a joint venture providing current accounts to the Post Office but announced earlier this month plans to close eight branches in Northern Ireland, offering redundancies to 54 staff. Island-wide the bank’s pre-tax profits for the first half of the year have fallen by 23 per cent compared to the same period last year from £610 million in 2015 to £469 million for 2016.

The parent of the other all-island bank operating in Northern Ireland, Allied Irish Banks (AIB), reported pre-tax profits of £841 million for the first six months. Operating expenses at the bank increased by 5 per cent to €677 million, the bank approved €6.1 billion in new lending approvals to customers, €3.9 billon in drawdowns and an 8 per cent increase in new lending in Ireland.

Danske Bank’s profits, which relate solely to Northern Ireland operations are only gauged for the first three months of 2016. The £35 million pre-tax profit is an 11 per cent increase on profit achieved for the same period last year. The figure included a write back of £8.6 million in impairment charges.

Ulster Bank, operating across Ireland reported profits of €155 million for the first half of the year, a fall from €199 million for the same period last year. €118 million of the bank’s €402 million expenses for the first half of the financial year were attributed to the examination of tracker mortgages. The RBS owned bank posted a total income of €377 million, up from €368 million. RBS overall reported a €2 billion loss.

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