Northern Ireland

Ulster Bank in NI makes 2016 pre-tax profit of £58m

Ulster Bank
Image caption Ulster Bank is one of the big four local banks in Northern Ireland, employing around 1,700 staff

Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland made a 2016 pre-tax profit of £58m on a turnover of £176m.

The profit included a 'write back' of £27m in impairment charges.

That means money which had been set aside to cover expected losses can now be released as loans performed better than expected.

These are the first performance figures the bank has published since a corporate reorganisation in 2015.

At that time the bank's parent company, RBS, split Ulster Bank's Irish operation into separate businesses, north and south of the border.

'Sustainable'

Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, said the results also showed a 6% decline in operating costs from £154m to £145m.

"We still have work to do to manage our costs in order to grow our business in a sustainable way, but we have made significant progress on that front," he said.

"I am pleased that we have impairment write backs of £27m, driven by improved residential and commercial property market conditions."

In March, the bank said it would close nine of its 64 branches from October.

Ulster Bank is one of the big four local banks in Northern Ireland, employing about 2,200 staff.

In 2016 RBS, which is 72%-government owned, reported a £7bn annual loss.

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