Belfast Telegraph

Pre-tax profits at Danske Bank fall despite mortgage lending upsurge

By Margaret Canning

New mortgage lending at Danske Bank has grown by 35% in the first quarter of the year, its results have shown.

And the bank, which has 44 branches here, has said it will launch a new remortgage product as it aims to capture more 'switchers' from other lenders.

Danske's results for the first quarter of this year show a fall in pre-tax profits of around 45% to £15.1m from £27.3m after a decline in loan impairments.

However, operating profits at £22.4m were up nearly 11% from £20.2m in the first quarter of 2017. The bank said deposits had also grown from £6.3bn to £6.7bn, while income was up slightly to £56.6m.

During the year the bank sold its wealth management business to stockbroking firm Davy, while it's also let out part of its Belfast city centre headquarters to business advisory firm Grant Thornton.

Chief executive Kevin Kingston said the underlying performance of the bank was strong.

New mortgage lending was up 35%, he said, with the bank now employing more mortgage consultants than any of its rivals.

"Our mortgage product proposition is strong, and will be further improved in the coming weeks with the introduction of a very competitive remortgage offer to encourage more switchers."

Business lending was also up 4% as it increased market share in corporate and business. Deals included funding the acquisition by SHS Group of nut butter producer 3V Natural Foods.

In a statement accompanying the results, the bank said: "Total income is 2% higher reflecting the growth in lending and deposits, and higher UK interest rates partially offset by lower fee income following the sale of the bank's wealth business in 2017."

Mr Kingston said the bank was continuing the drive towards digitisation, after becoming the first Northern Ireland bank to offer Samsung Pay and the first UK bank to introduce Garmin Pay.

It's also working on a new mobile banking app, which will be set up to allow customers to view accounts held in other banks. Mr Kingston said: "Our move is to be know as the best multi-channel bank."

The move allowing customers to view accounts held in other banks comes after the introduction of Open Banking, a new programme by the government to make finance more user-friendly.

Belfast Telegraph

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