Belfast Telegraph

Easing of bad debt provision helps Northern into the black

By Lindsay Fergus

Northern Bank made £1.6m profit in the first quarter of 2010, the second consecutive quarter it has posted a positive result.

The recovery was mainly due to a reduction in the amount that it had to set aside to cover losses on bad loans.

A total of £14.4m was set aside by Northern Bank to cover impairment charges, substantially lower than the same period in 2009.

Northern Bank, which employs 1,700 people and has 83 branches, had a total income of £47.1m for the first three months of the year.

It said its overall lending volumes were broadly unchanged from the previous quarter.

Commenting on the results, Belfast-based chief executive officer Gerry Mallon said: "Although the road to recovery remains fragile, we expect 2010 to be much better than 2009. In these still uncertain times our customers value the strength and security of Northern Bank as a financial partner.

"Northern Bank is very much open for business and we are well placed to support businesses and consumers to maximise the opportunities that emerge as the economic recovery strengthens." He also claimed increasing numbers of businesses were moving their banking relationship to Northern Bank "based on our services, expertise and technology".