Profits and turnover up at Danske Bank despite uncertainty
Danske Bank in Northern Ireland has reported pre-tax profits of £71.1m - up 6% from last year's figures.
In its latest financial report for the nine months to the end of September, the bank, which operates 40 branches and three regional business centres here, also revealed that its turnover sat at £176m, up slightly from its 2018 total "despite continued economic and political uncertainty".
Danske, which employs around 1,500 staff here, also revealed that its lending was up 3% year on year, with retail customer activity levels remaining what it described as "satisfactory".
It added: "New lending to businesses is impacted by Brexit, with some larger customers delaying investment decisions."
Chief executive Kevin Kingston said: "I am pleased to report an operating profit of £72.5m for the first nine months of 2019.
"The bank's underlying performance remains satisfactory, with lending up 3% year-on-year."
During Q3, the bank said one in four Northern Ireland mortgages came from Danske, which is its highest slice of the market yet.
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Mr Kingston added: "In personal banking, we continue to provide attractive mortgage packages with very competitive rates and market-leading cashback offers.
"As part of our autumn mortgage campaign, we announced further reductions in fixed-rate mortgage products, which has led to an increase in approvals, especially in the re-mortgage switcher market.
"Our agile pricing approach ensures we remain attractive in what is an increasingly competitive segment."
Looking at the business sector, the bank chief said the lengthy Brexit process was stalling many firms from investing, which was reflected in loans to the commercial customer.
He added: "It is important to note that our capacity to support new business lending remains strong, but current demand levels are below what we would expect in a more normalised trading environment."
Despite the reluctance for businesses to apply for loans, Mr Kingston said there was an uptake in its business support and advice from the business bank management team.
"In the short-term, the business community awaits much-needed clarity on what the Brexit journey will look like.
"However, the reality is, whatever shape it takes, it will only be the beginning of a new operating environment, and the process of change will be a significant factor in everybody's lives for many years to come."