Ulster Bank announces £1.5bn loss

Ulster Bank announces £1.5bn loss

Ulster Bank has announced losses of almost £1.5bn for 2013.

It comes as the bank's parent company RBS revealed a loss of £8.2bn for the year.Ulster Bank's losses compare to a loss of about £1bn in 2012. The bank put the figure down to a one-off charge for transferring bad debt.Chief Executive Jim Brown added that there has been a "significant decrease" in operating loss and impairments, increased income and a continued improvement in loan, deposit ratio.He said: "Today's results demonstrate our continued progress toward returning to profitability in 2014 through an improved operational performance across the Bank."The transfer of non-performing loans to RCR and the associated one-off impairment charge, will enable us to focus on building a really good core bank that serves our customers well."Meanwhile the Royal Bank of Scotland has announced "closer integration" between its franchises in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.It said Ulster Bank will benefit from the move which will create "meaningful synergies in terms of investment, costs and customer experiences".Jim Brown commented: "We have been part of the fabric of Ireland for the past 178 years and we are now looking forward to the next phase as we continue to build a customer-focused but simplified and more agile banking model."While Ulster Bank will continue to operate across the island of Ireland, in Northern Ireland a closer alignment of our infrastructure with the bank in Britain will bring more efficient service and product improvements to our customers."Already this year we have stated our intention to make £1.7bn available in funding for business and personal customers across the island of Ireland, demonstrating a clear commitment to customers new and existing."Finance Minister Simon Hamilton of the DUP said: "I welcome the fact that the Ulster Bank brand is to remain and the Northern Ireland operation is to have a closer alignment with RBS operations in the rest of the UK as part of its Personal and Business Bank Division. "This ensures that customers here will have full access to all of the RBS Group's services and for both business and personal customers this is very good news."It is clear too however that the coming months will be a time of restructuring and considerable change at the RBS group, including local Ulster Bank operations, will be smaller at the end of that. "I have already had conversations today with local management about ensuring that Ulster Bank can continue to meet customers' needs during this time and that any downsides from the necessary restructuring are carefully implemented."

© UTV

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