Blackrock, the world's biggest asset manager, has lifted its stake in Bank of Ireland even as most investors exit the market for Irish bank shares.
On Monday, as Bank of Ireland issued a trading update for the first quarter of the year - including the estimated impact of the initial phase of the Covid-19 crisis - Blackrock increased its stake in the bank.
Its interest in the bank rose to 7.06pc - up from a previous position of 6.43pc, according to regulatory filings on Euronext.
Shares in Bank of Ireland were down in Dublin yesterday, and have fallen almost 22pc in the past week.
Market watchers say long-time Bank of Ireland shareholder Blackrock may be willing to take a longer-term approach.
On Monday, Bank of Ireland said it has yet to see a spike in bad loans as a result of the economic lockdown, but management's initial provision for loan impairments pushed it to a loss of €235m for the first three months of this year.
Provisions for the current quarter are likely to be even larger.
Bank of Ireland said new lending in 2020 could fall 50pc or even 70pc compared to last year.
AIB, which has suffered even deeper share price falls in the past week, announced its best estimate for Covid-19 loan losses on the first quarter on Tuesday. It warned they will likely be bigger in the second quarter than the €210m estimated for the first three months.