Northern Bank lost close to £50 million this year, it was revealed today.
The bank set aside £89.4 million to guard against bad debts because of the property and construction downturn and this was responsible for the loss. Costs at the bank fell by 4% during the nine months to September this year.
Chief executive Gerry Mallon said: "I am pleased with the core performance of the business in what continues to be a fragile economic environment. We are winning new customers, we've increased our deposit base and we're continuing to reduce costs.
"Noticeable deteriorations in the economic environment for our business customers, in particular the property and construction sector, means that we have decided to make further prudent provisions for potential bad debt."
He said the bank had the strength to absorb the difficult market conditions.
"We have a strong appetite for new business and with the right people, products and systems in place we are well placed to attract new customers as well as support our existing customers," he added.
"Our customer satisfaction levels are the highest they've ever been so our customers seem to agree."
He added consumers had not been spending and business owners not investing.
"The impact of these cuts now rests largely on decisions made by our local Executive," he said.
Total operating profit for the bank before impairment charges for bad debts was £39.6 million. Total income was £139 million.