Saturday 25 February 2017

Ulster Bank writedown of £1bn in latest quarter

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

ULSTER Bank's loan book suffered impairments of almost £1bn (€1.15bn) in the quarter to September, as the RBS-owned institution continued to feel the hangover from the boom years.

The massive writedowns emerged in figures released by Ulster Bank and separate RBS disclosures covering the troubled Ulster loans that are now part of the group's "non-core" portfolio.

The latest hit means loans originating from Ulster have triggered impairments of more than £2.7bn in 2010 alone, but the bank last night insisted it remained "fully committed" to the Irish market. Ulster Bank's chief executive Cormac McCarthy blamed the £268m of impairments in the "core" portfolio on the "ongoing challenges in the Irish economy".

Some £107m of the losses were attributed to corporate property lending, with another £100m to "other corporate", £69m to mortgages and £10m to "other", mirroring trends earlier in the year.

Separate figures from RBS, however, reveal the full toxicity of Ulster's original loan book by charting the losses taken on the £15.5bn of Ulster's loans gone to RBS's internal 'bad bank'. Those Ulster loans were written down by £689m in the quarter to September, bringing the 2010 impairment tally to £1.9bn.

Irish Independent

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