Tracker controversy slashes Ulster Bank profits

The bank has paid €229m in litigation costs

Tracker controversy slashes Ulster Bank profits

Photocall file photo

Royal Bank of Scotland boss Ross McEwan insisted the lender is on its way back to health after a "remarkable journey" despite reporting a ninth straight annual loss of £6.96bn (€8.24bn).

Ulster Bank, its Irish operation, posted a €24m 2016 profit - that's down from €362m in 2015.

The drop came as the bank faced €229m in litigation costs - the majority of this outflow was associated with the Central Bank's tracker mortgage probe.

Commenting on the full year results, Ulster Bank Chief Executive Gerry Mallon said: "We acknowledge where we could have done better and are focused on putting it right for our customers," referring to the bank's treatment of these policyholders.

“2016 was a year of solid progress for Ulster Bank, enhancing our competitive positioning and building a simpler, safer, more sustainable Bank," he added.

"As a major provider of competition in the market, we are pleased to report a 31% increase in new lending, a 48% increase in mortgage drawdowns and a 19% increase in business lending in the period. This is driven by competitive new rates, increased customer uptake of our enhanced digital offering and our continuing focus on customer service," Mr Mallon continued.

The company's mortgage drawdowns here up by 48% to over €1bn.