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Ulster Bank Northern Ireland reports profit of £51m in 2018

Financial highlights for Ulster Bank Northern Ireland which has generated a profit before tax of £51m for the 12 months to the end of December 2018.

  •  £191m total income  (2017 – £184m income)
  • Profit before impairments and tax  of £57m (2017 – £53m)
  • Profit before tax of £51m. (2017 – £59m)
  • 15% increase in new corporate lending.
  • 27% increase in new small business lending.
  • Over 30% increase in new mortgage lending year-on-year.

Richard Donnan, Head of Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank, (pictured) told Business First: “Our renewed focus on the way we serve customers in Northern Ireland is working and the positive momentum we have had over recent years shows in our results. We are playing a leading part in making it easier for people and businesses across Northern Ireland to achieve their ambitions.

“Our core business in Northern Ireland continues to show a positive performance of £51m profit, with this being driven by improved underlying performance across all areas of our business – our profit before impairments and taxes has risen by over 80% in the last two years (2016 – £31m).

“The strength of this bank is put to use by supporting the Northern Ireland economy. Lending drawdowns by small businesses were up 27% in the year, we helped over 30,000 people get financially fitter through a free Financial Health Check, and we have retained the largest share of the personal and business current account market in Northern Ireland.

“Our introduction of NatWest Intermediary services to meet the needs of customers going through a broker, as well as Northern Ireland’s first paperless mortgage process has been very positive for customers, meaning our total new mortgage lending in 2018 increased by over 30%.

“Customers continue to change the way they bank with us. We have a continuing and successful focus on controlling our operational costs, which has enabled us to prioritise investment in the innovation and digital services that customers tell us they want.

“Our digitally active customer base continues to grow, with 200,000 customers now using our mobile app. We’ll continue to enhance the features that make banking easier and more convenient, whether that’s through new innovations made possible by Open Banking, our AI-powered digital assistant Cora, or the ability to get in touch with us 24/7 by securely messaging queries about your account through our mobile app.

“Of course, the broader climate is uncertain – but we have worked with our customers to help them plan for all eventualities and we’ll support them through change. So our plan is to get on with getting stuck into the things that we know we can proactively contribute towards.

“We are the leading bank for entrepreneurship, and we intend to enhance that position in 2019. We invested £400,000 in bringing our entrepreneur accelerator in-house. The Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator offers a fully funded programme for entrepreneurs, of which 53% of last year’s cohorts were female.

“This is a showcase in our own building of how we build businesses and future opportunities for people in Northern Ireland.

“We care deeply about what Ulster Bank can do to make people proud of Northern Ireland, and one example of this will be the support we’ll be putting into campaigning for female entrepreneurship in 2019.”