Northern Ireland

Northern Bank reports £16m loss

Gerry Mallon
Image caption Northern bank Chief Executive, Gerry Mallon, said he was pleased with the performance of the core business.

Northern Bank has reported a loss of £16.7m for the first half of 2010, compared to a £75m loss in the same period last year.

Although its operating profit increased to £25.5m, that was wiped out by £42.2m set aside to cover bad loans.

Meanwhile its parent company, Danske Bank Group, announced pre-tax profits of £200m.

Northern bank Chief Executive, Gerry Mallon, said he was pleased with the performance of the core business.

"The impairment charges, which cover bad loans, remains higher than we'd like to see but it reflects the problems facing our customers, especially those in the property market."

"They are very much down on last year and we see 2010 being significantly better than 2009."

However, impairment charges were much higher in the second quarter of this year compared to the first quarter.

The figures also show Northern Bank lent slightly less in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period last year, mainly due to a reduction in property lending.

Danske's unit in the Irish Republic, National Irish Bank (NIB), made a pre-tax loss of 341m euros (£283m) in the first half of this year.

The loss was in line with the figure for the same period last year.

Danske said that while a rise in house prices is forecast for its markets in Norway and Finland prices are likely to fall across the island of Ireland.

Northern Bank began in 1809 as a Belfast-based banking company known as the Northern Banking Partnership.

It was acquired by the Danske Bank Group in 2005, the largest bank in Denmark and a major player in Scandinavian financial markets.

It has 83 branches in Northern Ireland employing 1250 people.

The banking sector across Ireland has been badly hit by the bursting of a property bubble.

Last week the Ulster Bank announced losses of £314m for the first half of the year.

Although its operating profit increased to £185m, that was wiped out by £499m set aside to cover bad loans. The bank's results relate to the island of Ireland.

Meanwhile its parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced pre-tax profits of £1.1bn.

AIB reported a half year loss of 2bn euros (£1.66bn) with its Northern Ireland business, First Trust, losing £52m.

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