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Ulster's profits surge

ULSTER Bank posted a seven-fold increase in profits to €69m in the first three months of the year, and said mortgage draw-downs rose 55pc.

The surge in profits will add to calls on the country's third biggest bank to slash the interest it charges on standard variable rate home loans, but so far bank boss Jim Brown (inset) has resisted the pressure.

The increase in lending for home loans coincided with the introduction of new limits on the size of mortgages by the Central Bank, but these are likely to have been approved before the new rules came into force.