Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland has generated a profit before tax of £18m for the 12 months to the end of December 2019. These figures reflect the majority, but not all of the profits generated in Northern Ireland, as part of the RBS group.
Mark Crimmins, Head of Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank, commented on the results: “This has been a solid year for Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, with a strong underlying business performance allied to significant and visible investment in the bank to enable us to provide even-better service to our customers.
“Despite a challenging external environment and subdued borrowing appetite from businesses, we increased Corporate lending in 2019 by 12% and saw a 8% increase in small business drawdowns. Supporting customers to own their own home also continues to be a strong priority for Ulster Bank, and in 2019, for instance, we opened more than 10,000 Help to Buy Isas to help customers save for a deposit.”
Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland
Ulster Bank recently announced the creation of over 100 new contact centre jobs and a multi-million pound refurbishment of its Belfast headquarters to include a world-class office environment and a contact centre of excellence. This follows a considerable investment to bring the Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator into its impressive new home at Donegall Square East.
This significant investment as well as one-off costs associated with a voluntary refund of interest to some business customers has impacted on profitability. However, the underlying performance is solid in a challenging environment and the investments being made place Ulster Bank on a strong footing to continue to deliver for our customers.
Ulster Bank is continuing its commitment to financial capability and financial education. Through the award-winning financial education program, MoneySense, which reached over 15,000 young people in Northern Ireland last year, and through Financial Health Checks, which allow people (including customers of other banks) to get financially fitter. In 2019 over 25,000 financial health checks took place. Customers can also now see their credit score in our mobile banking app, which will help give them a better view of their financial health.
Ulster Bank plays an important role in Northern Ireland, and the part we play in supporting customers gain financial confidence and capability, supporting enterprise, and tackling the growing issue of climate change.