Sunday 19 November 2017

A parent's worst nightmare

Staff at Danske Bank's Irish unit, National Irish Bank, must be well-used to being the fly in the ointment when the Danish parent makes its regular trading updates to investors.

Indeed, for a bank that has managed to post profits through every year of the financial meltdown, the need to constantly update the markets on losses on Danske Bank's Irish loans has been the stand-out "downer" on a succession of otherwise up-beat results days.

But yesterday's news from Danske offered a bit of relief for the bank's Irish team. Not that the situation here has improved particularly.

It is more that the situation at home in Denmark is now front and centre. The country is being hit with its own property crisis.

House prices are on the slide and losses on shipping loans are on the up.

Shipping, incidentally, may be the only sector that Irish banks managed to miss during the boom.

Danske has had to go back to investors to raise close to €1bn in fresh capital, an announcement that was followed unsurprisingly by a battering in the markets yesterday.

Nice, then, for Irish country manager Terry Browne to be able to reassure us that business here was nothing more unsettling than "in line with expectations", for the year to date.

Irish Independent

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