Belfast Telegraph

Bank's income rises by 8%

By Nigel Tilson

Northern Bank increased its income by 8% in the first nine months of this year, it has emerged.

The bank revealed total income had risen to £168m by the end of September, while operating expenses fell by 2% to £99m.

It said profit before tax was £14m after expenses associated with its ongoing integration to parent Danske Bank were taken into account. It registered a loss of £13m for the same period in 2006.

However, the cost of integrating with Copenhagen-based Danske is falling, down from £34m a year ago to £23m. Amortisation of intangible assets came in at £30m compared to £32m for the same period in 2006.

Growth in business volume and higher interest rates resulted in a 10% increase in net interest income to £126m.

Total commercial lending increased by 21% with total deposits rising by 13% to £5.59bn.

Northern Bank chief executive Don Price said the results reflected the increasing strength of the Northern Bank brand under Danske Bank, which purchased the Belfast-based bank and National Irish, its sister operation in the Republic, for £967m in early 2005.

"We are really starting to see the benefits of Danske's investment," he insisted.

"The competitive new personal and business product packages introduced since the acquisition by Danske Bank have proved popular with new and existing customers.

"Increasing numbers are also registering for our market-leading internet banking proposition."

Mr Price claimed several of Northern's business customers are realising time and cost savings through its cash management solution, which had " radically changed" the way many of them run their businesses.

"We're pleased to see that this investment in products and technology together with local decision making and the commitment of our staff is resulting in steadily improving customer satisfaction levels," he added.

The bank further revealed that credit losses remained at a low level and amounted to £2m for the first nine months of 2007.

The Northern has 94 branches across the province and employs around 1,300 people.

Danske, which also has operations throughout Scandinavia, said that overall its net profit for the first nine months of 2007 was DKr11,306m (£1.058bn) against DKr11,180m (£1.046bn) in the first nine months of 2006.

Belfast Telegraph