EBS Chief Executive Fergus Murphy has described the building society's €590m loss for 2010 as 'devastating'.

The EBS puts the loss down to loan impairments and the transfer of assets to the National Asset Management Agency.

It has transferred €836m worth of loans to NAMA at a discount of 60.4%. It expects to transfer another €65m in 2011.

The building society's operating profit was down 41% on 2009 figures, to €56m. It lost almost €80m in 2009.

It requires a total capital injection of €1.5bn.

Mortgage arrears are increasing but at a 'slower rate'. 8.4% of residential mortgages are now classed as 'non-performing', which is up from 5.2% in 2009.

The Minister for Finance recently announced that EBS and AIB are to merge to form a second 'pillar' bank along with Bank of Ireland.

The structure of the new institution is currently being finalised.