Ulster Bank reports losses of £1bn

Ulster Bank reports losses of £1bn

Ulster Bank has announced losses of over £1bn for 2012.

It comes as parent company the Royal Bank of Scotland plunged deeper into the red after losing £5.2bn in what has been described as a "chastening" year.

Commenting on Thursday's figures, which cover all of Ireland, Ulster Bank Chief Executive Jim Brown said the bank is continuing the process of restructuring its business here.

"Operating loss increased by £56m year-on-year, primarily driven by a reduction in income as a result of a smaller balance sheet," explained Mr Brown.

"Income decreased by 6% year-on-year in constant currency terms, largely due to the high cost of deposit raising, coupled with lower interest-earning loan volumes.

Ulster Bank has released its annual results and once again they don't make for comfortable reading.

Jamie Delargy

"Impairment losses remained elevated, reflecting underlying credit metrics, new defaulting customers and deteriorating security values."

The losses for 2012 were up 6% from the previous year.

However, as UTV's Business Editor Jamie Delargy explained, the increase was not because the bank was writing off more bad loans.

"It was down to other factors," he explained.

"Depositors are demanding more interest on their money, cutting the Ulster's profit margins, and the bank is deliberately lending less which means lowered income."

Last year Ulster Bank revealed it paid out over £18m to almost 300,000 Northern Irish customers after a technical glitch left them without proper access to their bank accounts for weeks over the summer - these costs are not included in Thursday's results.

The bank plans to close seven branches and four sub-offices in NI by this June.


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