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Recovery continues at the Northern

Northern Bank made £1.6m profit in the first quarter of 2010, according to its latest financial results published today.

8It is the second consecutive quarter that the bank, which employs 1,700 people, has made a pre-tax profit.

The recovery is 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 but that figure is substantially down compared to the same period in 2009.

It is also for the fourth consecutive quarter that the amount of money the bank has had to set aside for bad debts has spiralled.

Northern Bank, which 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 that increasing numbers of businesses were moving their banking relationship to Northern Bank “based on our services, expertise and technology”.

The bank, a subsidiary of Danske Bank, revealed that a continued focus on cost control had resulted in an 18% cost savings on quarter one in 2009 as well as quarter-on-quarter improvement with efficiency savings sought across the business.

Danske Bank Group posted a net profit €0.1bn for the first quarter of 2010.

It said that difficult macroeconomic conditions in several of the group’s markets continued to have an adverse effect on results.