Ulster Bank hit with $498m loss in first half of 2010

6 August 2010

Ulster Bank has suffered a tough start to 2010, recording a loss of £314 million ($498 million) in the first six months of the year.

Despite the fact that the financial institution's operating profit increased to £185 million, up from £149 million in the corresponding period of 2009, the bank's performance was impaired by £499 million worth of "impairment losses".

Between January and June last year, Ulster Bank lost £8 million.

Commenting on the size of its impairment losses, which rose by £63 million during the second quarter, the company said: "Economic conditions remain challenging with a continued downward pressure on asset values and a resultant impact on the credit quality of customers."

The announcement coincides with parent company Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announcing half-year profits of £9 million, despite pre-tax operating profits standing at more than £1.1 billion.

Earlier this month, it was reported that RBS had agreed to sell 318 branches to rival bank Santander as part of its planned restructuring work.

By Claire Archer

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