Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Let's all hope Danske's improved results are sign of things to come

Reporting on bank results is not what it used to be. In the old days, pre 2008, we would always be reporting profit, the only question mark would be over how much profit each lending institution (or trading house as some became more well-known for) would make.

Obviously that all changed during the period we shall now know as the brackets years, when the pretax column of quarterly and yearly financial statements always seems to contain a rather large number within a pair of brackets, an indication of a loss.

In the really old days this figure would have been red but just in case you were in any doubt over the matter, a stout pair of brackets helped to.

We're still in that phase by the looks of things but the good news is the losses seem to be getting smaller, if Danske Bank's full year results for 2012 are anything to go by.

By reducing its impairment charges and boosting its operating profits, the former Northern Bank has managed to cut its losses by more than half over the last year.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that a £90m loss is still a lot in any bank's books but there can be no doubt that it's moving in the right direction after a name change and reorganisation of its structure.

The rest of the main banks in Northern Ireland are yet to report their 2012 figures but let's hope they too have managed to trim the burden of impairment charges.

Maybe someday soon the brackets days will be over.

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