Northern Ireland

Danske Bank profits up 11% in the first three months of 2016

Danske Bank
Image caption Danske's new mortgage lending approvals were up 170% year-on-year

Danske Bank in Northern Ireland made a pre-tax profit of £35m in the first three months of 2016.

That is up 11% compared to the £31.4m profit achieved during the same period in 2015.

The bank's total quarterly income was up 5% year-on-year from £53.8m to £56.3m.

The £35m in pre-tax profit includes a 'write back' of £8.6m in impairment charges.

That means money which had been set aside to cover expected loan losses can now be released.

The bank said that new mortgage lending approvals were up 170% year-on-year while new lending to small and medium sized business customers was up by 52%.

Danske Bank UK chief executive Kevin Kingston said there was evidence that many existing customers were "starting to once again invest in growing their businesses."

He added that as "consumer and business confidence continues to improve" the banks expect demand for finance to increase in the year ahead.

Ulster Bank owner RBS also reported quarterly results on Friday but a restructuring of the bank means it no longer publishes specific Northern Ireland results.

RBS as whole showed a £968m loss, more than double the loss in the same period last year.

It said a one-time £1.2bn dividend payment to the UK government dragged down an otherwise profitable period.

Operating profits rose to £421m for the quarter, up from just £37m in 2015, but total revenue fell 13% to £3.06bn.

RBS is still 73%-owned by the UK government having been bailed out by the taxpayer in the financial crisis.

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