Belfast Telegraph

2.3bn euro loss for bailed-out AIB

Bailed-out Allied Irish Bank (AIB) has announced an annual loss of 2.3 billion euro after tax.

The bank revealed it was also forced to set aside 7.9 billion euro to cover expected losses on loans, including 1.6 billion euro for mortgage arrears.

Chief executive David Duffy said AIB aims to return to sustainable profitability within two years and keep hard-pressed homeowners in their homes. He said that while mortgage arrears have increased, he expects the figure to level off and decline.

"Our view on the customers is very straightforward. It is to keep people in their homes whenever possible," he said.

"We have engaged with the Central Bank in discussions around a wide number of initiatives which we hope we will be able to apply to each individual situation to allow people to keep their debt at a sustainable level and remain in their homes."

AIB, which has been bailed out with 20.7 billion euro of public funds, was merged with smaller finance house EBS and hailed - alongside Bank of Ireland - as one of the country's two "pillar" banks.

It is in talks with unions to lay off 2,500 workers - one in six of its workforce - to save 170 million euro in a year.

Mr Duffy maintained the bank had exceeded its deleveraging targets in 2011, successfully integrated EBS and the Anglo deposit business, and implemented its "open for business" agenda.

"Our plan is to return to sustainable profitability by 2014. Achieving this will be key to our ambition to provide an opportunity to attract private investment and return value to our principal shareholder," he said.

AIB said highlights in 2011 included approving 33,500 out of 37,000 applications for credit from small businesses and increasing its rate of mortgage approvals to 75% by December.

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