Pre-tax profits at Danske Bank fell by £8 million during the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year though lending rose by 8 per cent.
Reporting on the six months to the end of June, the bank blamed the drop in profits from £64.5m in H1 2016 to £56.5m on the “adverse impact” of low interst rates and higher expenses given operational restructuring, increased pension costs and the implementation of its own investment programme .
“I am pleased to report a healthy profit before tax of £56.5m for the first half of 2017,” said Danske Bank UK chief executive Kevin Kingston.
“The underlying performance of the Bank remains strong, with lending up 8% year-on-year.
“Following a record year for our mortgage business in 2016, I am delighted to note that growth in this segment has continued, with new mortgage lending approvals up 7% year on year.”
In terms of advances, Mr Kingston said the bank had now integrated Apple Pay into its digital services offering.
“Apple Pay is just the first of several new digital enhancements that we plan to introduce over the next year to further improve customer experience.”
He said 2017 had also been an important period in relation to small business support following the establishment of a chain of advisors across key branches around the province.
“This decision was taken as a result of strong feedback from small businesses and it will allow our people to be more accessible and closer to customers,” he said.
“These changes have already made a tangible impact, with lending to small businesses up 32% year-on-year and 37 new small business relationships being established every week.”
Referring to medium to larger-sized businesses, Mr Kingston said new lending was up by 9% over the same period in 2016.
“Despite improved business activity across the Bank, total income has remained broadly flat compared to the first half of 2016 as low interest rates continue to impede our income growth. “Our focus for the second half of 2017 remains firmly on supporting our customers - whether that be by making their personal banking easier for them, helping them with personal loans or mortgages, or assisting them in taking their businesses to the next level.”