Northern Ireland

Danske Bank: First annual profit in Northern Ireland since 2008

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Media captionGerry Mallon Danske Northern Ireland chief executive, welcomed the improved performance

Danske Bank in Northern Ireland made a pre-tax profit of £11.4m in 2013, compared to a loss of more than £58m in 2012.

It is the first time the bank has made an annual profit since the start of the financial crisis in 2008.

Danske said the improved performance was driven by reduced bad loan charges alongside a better underlying business.

Danske made a profit of just over £1m in 2008 but made a loss in every subsequent year until 2013.

The bank's chief executive Gerry Mallon said the 2013 performance puts the bank "12 to 18 months ahead" of where it thought it would be.

However, he said he was "not overjoyed" by the results and that there was still more to do.

The bank's underlying operating income increased by 4% year on year from £174m to £180m.

Loan charges

Total costs increased from £135m to £141m, though that included some one-off items. The bank said that its underlying cost base is falling.

Bad loan charges, mainly relating to property, fell from £153m to £48m.

The bank said it had a "record year" for business lending with over £450m in new and increased loans provided to business customers.

Almost half of that for was to "new to bank" customers.

Mr Mallon said that one of their new business customers is Norbrook Laboratories, the veterinary pharmaceutical company that is one of Northern Ireland's largest exporters.

The bank is expecting the Northern Ireland economy to grow by 2.4% in 2014.

Mr Mallon said that so far the recovery is being driven by consumer spending rather than business investment.

He added that a "big driver" of consumer confidence had been the stabilisation of the housing market.

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