Ulster Bank reports loses of more than £1bn

Ulster Bank Ulster Bank is the third-largest bank in Ireland

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Ulster Bank has reported losses of more than £1bn for 2012, a slight increase on the previous year.

It came as the bank's parent group, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), confirmed losses of more than £5bn for 2012.

Ulster Bank chief executive Jim Brown said its increased losses were partly due to lower interest loan volumes.

He said the bank was "making good progress" as the economic situation "begins to stabilise" on the island of Ireland".

He added: "We continue to remain focused on the recovery of our business."

RBS as a whole made an operating profit in 2012, but this was more than wiped out by loan impairments - expectations that loans will not be repaid.

RBS reported impairments of over £5bn, of which Ulster Bank declared nearly £1.4bn.

Ulster Bank, which says it has 1.9 million customers on the island of Ireland, said that it had made "significant efforts to help customers" who had been affected during the year by the meltdown of its IT systems.

Financial journalist Paul Gosling said the bank was going through a difficult time.

He said: "Ulster Bank is in serious trouble as we knew before. Its bad losses for the year were £1.3bn. Now compare that with the operating profits for the year which were £324m, so by my calculations that's over a billion pounds in net loss again."

Ulster Bank said that it had made "significant efforts to help customers" who had been affected during 2012 by the meltdown of its IT systems.

A technical failure on 19 June affected many customers' accounts across the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) group.

Normal service was not restored to Ulster Bank customers until almost a month later on 16 July.

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