Belfast Telegraph

Danske's mortgage business booming, but pre-tax profits slide by 22% to £77m

By Margaret Canning

Danske Bank has reported a "record" performance for its mortgage lending, although pre-tax profits for January to September were down 22.1.% to £77.4m.

But the bank reported growth of 30% in both new mortgage lending and new business lending.

The Danish-owned bank, which has 44 local branches, said that its digital transformation to encourage more customers to bank online and through mobile apps was continuing with the appointment of a chief digital officer.

The bank said the fall in profits reflected the impact of low Bank of England interest rates - which were raised from 0.25% to 0.5% yesterday - as well as the costs of restructuring, growing pension costs and increased investment.

Total income for the first nine months was £166.4m, down nearly 4% from £173.1m.

It has recently turned to raising money by letting out part of its headquarters on Donegall Square West in Belfast.

And it's also raised funds by selling off its wealth management division to Davy Stockbrokers, a deal that was closed this week.

It said that the proceeds of the sale would be reflected in its fourth quarter results.

Chief executive Kevin Kingston said there had been a "significant" increase in new corporate lending, with major deals including a refinancing by KFC franchise owner Herbert Group, which had enabled the company to acquire 27 new KFC outlets in Northern Ireland and Britain. It also backed expansion by kitchen component manufacturer Uform in Toomebridge.

Mr Kingston said mortgage business had achieved a "record nine months", with new lending up 30% year-on-year.

"Our mortgage market share continues to markedly improve, and our offering has been further enhanced through the provision of a new Danske Bank digital system for the third party broker network," he added.

He said major branches had also been updated, with Portadown and Dungannon being refurbished to become "more digitally interactive and conducive to good customer experiences".

And renovations at its branches in Coleraine, Lisburn and Newtownards are to be finished before the end of the year, he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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