Belfast Telegraph

Bank of Ireland in 569m euro loss

Bank of Ireland has reported an underlying pre-tax loss of 569 million euro for last year, down from almost 1.5 billion euro in the previous year.

The bank said it recorded an operating profit for the year of more than 1 billion euro before impairment charges on loans of 1.6 billion euro were taken into account.

Its annual report said the level of defaulted loans has fallen 6% since June 2013.

Bank of Ireland was bailed out by the Government from 2009-2011 with about 4.8 billion euro and the state holds 14% of the bank's stock.

Richie Boucher, group chief executive, said the bank's underlying performance improved by almost 1 billion euro in 2013.

"2013 was a year of further substantial progress for Bank of Ireland," he said.

"Taxpayers' support for and investment in Bank of Ireland has been rewarded and repaid. We are profitable and generating capital in 2014."

Davy stockbrokers said the results were strong, with the bank's finances showing it was making profits before provisions ahead of expectations and also generating capital.

The annual report showed the breakdown of impairment charges for loans with residential mortgages costing the bank 573 million euro last year.

Property and construction lending cost 583 million euro.

Mr Boucher said a key priority remains the solution of Irish mortgage arrears and challenges facing small and medium enterprises.

And he said that eight out of 10 debt-hit Irish mortgages which have been been restructured are now being repaid as required.

The bank also said about 6 billion euro cash has been returned to the state following the bailout.

"It is right and appropriate that taxpayers have got back their cash investment in Bank of Ireland, with a cash profit achieved and considerable potential upside," Mr Boucher said.

Bank of Ireland has more than 280 branches and 1,400 ATMs in Ireland and the group employs more than 11,255 staff.

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