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National Irish Bank to be rebranded as Danske Bank

Plus, a restructure, results and a resignation.

DANSKE BANK, WHICH owns National Irish Bank, is to rebrand its Irish arm under the group name.

The Danish institution said the rebrand is a signal of its commitment to the Irish market and will take effect by the end of this year.

The group also announced a reorganisation of its operations from 1 June, which will see a new arm established to wind down its commercial and property loan portfolio.

The transfer of such loans, which have high impairment charges, will take place by the 1 January next year. The bank has suffered immensely from the property crash and has a legacy of bad loans on its books.

The bank said the new structure will allow it to concentrate on corporate and private banking.

“We want to focus on our core business in Ireland,” says Eivind Kolding, chairman of the Executive Board of Danske Bank. “Danske Bank has considered alternative options and decided that this solution is the best in terms of creating value. With these initiatives, we also confirm our commitment to Ireland.”

Following the restructure, Andrew Healy has announced his resignation from National Irish Bank after seven years in the top job. In a statement this morning, he said:

Together we have restored our Bank’s reputation and come out the other side of the most difficult period in Ireland’s banking history. I couldn’t have asked for better colleagues and it is after a lot of thought and with some sadness that I leave. However, I have some personal ambitions which I would like to follow and I am very excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.

Separately, National Irish Bank released its first quarter results today, announcing an increased operating profit of €11 million.

It set aside €195 million for loan impairment charges as further falls in residential and commercial property prices continued to hurt the loan portfolio. Healy said the level of charge, although still high, was lower than the previous quarter.

He added that the performance was in line with expectations as economic conditions remain challenging.

The Danske Bank Group announced a profit before tax and impairment charges of €740 million, a rise of 27 per cent on last year’s figure. However, loan impairment charges at the group amounted to €527 million.

The bank is in a healthy position in terms of capital with a 16 per cent Tier 1 capital ratio.

Watch Lars Crhistensen, the chief market analyst at Danske Bank: ‘Austerity has not failed in Ireland but the ECB must do more’>

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