Danske Bank says it has approved more than £120m in coronavirus-related business support amid the global pandemic.
The bank posted pre-tax profits of £1.4m for the first quarter of 2020, and operating profit of £21.1m for the same period.
“We have approved over £120m worth of coronavirus related business support loans since the middle of March, with over £64m of this volume provided through the Government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS),” chief executive, Kevin Kingston, said.
“Towards the end of the quarter the coronavirus disruption began and the Bank mobilised and reacted at pace to help our customers, colleagues and wider society.
“I feel passionately that Danske Bank’s role is to be a force for good both now and throughout the challenges ahead. Since the coronavirus disruption began to impact the economy at the end of quarter one, we have introduced a significant package of support measures.”
Mr Kingston said the volume of business lending during the crisis “has been more than double the equivalent amount lent during the same period last year”.
“At the end of the quarter we announced the cancellation of interest on all of our existing personal overdrafts for a period of three months, benefiting up to 86,000 personal customers,” he said.
“We allowed mortgage customers, including customers who are residential buy-to-let landlords, to reduce or defer mortgage payments for up to three months. To date we have approved around 4,500 mortgage payment holidays.”
Total income at the bank is around 4% lower, reflecting “sharply reduced interest rates and the impact of coronavirus disruption”.
The bank says “costs are down by 1% compared to the same period last year.”. “This reflects continued efficiency improvements, partially offset by investment in improving customer solutions and additional costs incurred to support customers and colleagues in the current environment.
“The economic outlook for 2020 is challenging and this is reflected in the provision for higher loan impairments, which allows for the expectation that a greater number of customers will experience financial difficulties in the months ahead.”