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Ulster Bank posts €441m loss for first three months of 2011

Provisions for bad loans and support for mortgage customers drag down profits at the Irish subsidiary of RBS.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

ULSTER BANK HAS announced losses of €441m for the first three months of 2010, largely due to provisions for debt that the bank does not expect to be repaid.

In figures released by the bank’s parent, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank recorded a loss of £377m – almost triple the losses incurred in the same quarter of last year, and up by over £100m on the last three months of 2010.

RBS said impairments across the board had fallen by 9 per cent in the quarter, though Ulster Bank was a blemish on this record with a cumulative impairment charge of £1.3bn (€1.46bn).

RBS as a whole reported operating profit of £1.831 billion before impairment losses, which left a pre-tax loss of £116m.

Ulster Bank alone registered an operating profit of £84m (€94.7m) for the three months – up slightly on the same period in 2010, but down by a fifth on the fourth quarter of last year – but wrote off £461m (€520m) in bad loans for the period.

£223m (€251.5m) of that amount came from domestic mortgage impairments, while corporate property accounted for £97 (€109.4m) of bad loans.

The bank’s total income for the quarter was £220m (€248m), split equally between its corporate and retail operations.

Positively, customer deposits in Ulster Bank grew by £700m (€789m) for the first three months.

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Gavan Reilly

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