Belfast Telegraph

AIB lending up 42% to 11bn euros

The amount lent by AIB to home-owners and businesses was 42% higher in 2014 than the previous year, the bank's chairman has said.

The state-financed institution approved more than 11 billion euros of lending and pledged to focus on supporting the Irish economy.

Chairman Richard Pym said the bank had been transformed during a return to profitability.

"The improving economic climate in Ireland is translating into an increased appetite for credit, with growth in the personal, business and corporate banking segments of the market.

"In 2014 we approved over 11 billion euros of lending in Ireland and our lending drawdowns to our customers were 42% higher than the previous year, including our mortgage and business customers.

"We continue to have capacity to lend and we remain focused on supporting our customers, jobs and the broader Irish economy."

Irish taxpayers have invested 20.8 billion euros in AIB and Mr Pym said that investment would be returned over time, subject to economic conditions and the decisions of the state as shareholder.

The dividend of 280 million euros due on the shares held by the state will, for the first time, be paid in cash this year.

Overall arrears in the bank's owner-occupied mortgage portfolio in the Republic reduced by 22% in 2014.

The chairman added: "We deal with all cases in a fair and equitable manner while ensuring an economic return for the bank and taxpayers.

"We share the concerns regarding the consequences of ongoing difficulties associated with legacy debt. Reflecting this concern, our staff deal with customers who continue to experience financial stress and we work hard to arrive at sustainable solutions that will allow them to emerge from arrears.

"We have said it many times before, AIB aims to keep people in their homes where possible, if customers engage with us.

"With that as our primary motive, we have put in place what we believe to be the most comprehensive set of permanent arrears solutions in the market."

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