Ulster Bank business lending climbs 51%
Ulster Bank has reported a 51% increase in business lending in the year so far, with demand for support growing from farmers and start-up firms among others, the bank said.
The bank - in its results for across the island of Ireland - also said it had profited on the sale of a portfolio of buy-to-let mortgages in the Republic under Project Finn.
But the rate at which impairments - or bad loans - had been recoupled thanks to the improved property market was slower in quarter three than previous quarters.
Around £58m of bad loans were released during the year - down from £318m in quarter three last year.
And its mortgage lending was up by nearly 50% across the island over the year so far.
The bank reported operating profit of £114m in the third quarter - or £245m in the year to date. The third quarter profits were down 70% on the same period a year earlier. Ulster Bank remains Northern Ireland's biggest bank, with 64 branches.
Paul Stanley, the interim chief executive of Ulster Bank in Ireland, said the growth in operating profit was "underpinned by stronger new business volumes, profit on the sale of a buy-to-let portfolio in the Republic of Ireland and a gain realised on the simplification of our corporate structure".
Mortgage drawdowns were also up nearly 50% over the year so far, he added.
In future, the bank's results in Northern Ireland will be subsumed into RBS's own figures. Yesterday's results were the last set of results for the bank's operation in Ireland to be reported as a separate unit from the parent company.