Bank of Ireland's pre-tax losses for 2012 mount

Monday 04 March 2013 23.15
1 of 2
Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher says the group continues to face many challenges
Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher says the group continues to face many challenges
5,000 staff have left Bank of Ireland in the last four years
5,000 staff have left Bank of Ireland in the last four years

Bank of Ireland has reported mounting pre-tax losses for 2012 after another challenging year for the bank.

The bank posted a loss before tax for 2012 of €2.166 billion. This compares to losses of €190m the year before.

BoI said the increased loss is due in part to losses on asset sales, redundancy charges, and buying back its subordinated bonds.

Today's results figures also show how in the past four years 5,000 people have left the bank and it said today that redundancy programmes will continue this year.

Bank of Ireland said that impairment charges on loans and advances to customers for last year came to €1.724 billion, 11% lower than in 2011.

It noted that impairment charges on residential mortgages of €462m for the year fell by €7m from €469m in 2011.

The bank said that while the number of default arrears has continued to increase, the pace of arrears formation has fallen since the first quarter of 2012.

Bank of Ireland said that owner occupier default arrears were 9.88% at the end of 2012, compared with 7.4% at the end of 2011. It said the volume of default arrears in this segment of the market continued to increase, mainly due to the continued impact of the economic downturn and affordability issues including falling disposal incomes and sustained high unemployment levels.

The bank said the level of owner occupied default arrears for the group remains just below the industry average from the Central Bank.

Buy-to-let arrears stood at 23.36% at the end of December, compared to 16.81% the same time the previous year. It said the level of arrears has continued to rise due to the continued impact of rising repayments as interest only periods end and customers move to full payments.

Bank of Ireland said it has appointed 1,100 rent receivers to landlords in arrears. The receivers collect rents on behalf of the bank. Some 285 landlords voluntarily surrendered properties to the bank.

The bank's chief executive Richie Boucher today reiterated that the lender was not involved in any talks to move loss-making mortgages that track the European Central Bank's low interest rate off its balance sheet.

The Government was last year looking at ways to shift "tracker" mortgages from AIB and Permanent TSB off their books, and Bank of Ireland said at the time it was not part of those discussions.

"We are not involved in any discussions on moving our tracker book into another vehicle," Richie Boucher said today.

Bank of Ireland's operating income down 9% last year

Today's results from the bank also show that operating income for the year fell by 9% to €1.880 billion from €2.058 billion, while the bank said its operating profit before impairment charges on assets and sale of assets to NAMA declined to €242m from €413m in 2011.

The group reported an underlying loss per share of 4.7 cent for last year compared to an operating loss per share of 9.6 cent the previous year.

It said deposit volumes increased by €4.7 billion to €75.2 billion last year despite what it called the ''extremely competitive deposit markets''.

Bank of Ireland said that Government guarantees fees of €388m for the year to December are €61m lower than the previous years. It said that total liabilities covered by the ELG fell from €42 billion to €26 billion, adding that the group is ready and prepared for the withdrawal of the scheme on March 28, as announced by the Government last week.

After what it described as another challenging year for the bank, Bank of Ireland said that actions it has taken have begun to have a positive financial impact in the second half of 2012 which gives it ''good momentum'' coming into 2013.

''While the economic environment has improved somewhat in recent months, it still remains difficult and the group continues to face many challenges,'' commented chief executive Richie Boucher.

''However, we are starting to see some of the benefits flowing from the focus we have had over the past four years on our strategic objectives aimed at enhancing our core franchises and rebuilding profitability within a restructured, robust balance sheet,'' he added.

See how Bank of Ireland shares are doing in Dublin here