Danske Bank has reported half year profits of £48 million in Northern Ireland as mortgage activity more than doubled and business lending rose by 40%.
The total pre-tax figure of £65.5m was boosted by the recovery of £16.5m in impariments charges set aside for bad loans .
The figure represents a £5.5m rise on the same period last year characterised by continuing recovery in the property market and improved customer trading.
“The underlying performance of the bank continues to improve, while at the same time impairments continue to fall,” said CEO Kevin Kingston.
“Operating profit is up 13 per cent on last year and our cost base is lower as a result of a tight control on expenditure.
“In personal banking we continue to focus on our mortgage business where we have enjoyed a very strong performance so far this year.
“We have seen a substantial increase in mortgage applications, resulting in a 108 per cent increase in approvals to customers year-on-year.
“New mortgage lending volume via the broker channel was nine times higher than it was in the first half of 2015.”
He also referred to the bank’s reward scheme which was launched earlier this year.
“In doing so we became the first of the four main local Northern Ireland banks to provide such an account to the marketplace.
A cashback offer of £500 for small business switchers and start-ups had seen an average of 45 new small business relationships established every week, he added.
“On the corporate banking side, overall demand in the marketplace has been more subdued compared to the same period last year. However commercial property and social housing transactions have remained buoyant. “Indicators show that uncertainty around the EU referendum outcome is impacting upon general business confidence. However, our local businesses are well used to dealing with challenges and change, and we remain confident that they will adapt as required to ensure continued growth.