KBC Bank Ireland has reported a sharp drop in amounts written off to cover loan losses in the first quarter of this year.

The bank said its impairment charge for the first quarter of 2014 was €47.9m compared to €99m the same time last year. 

Over the final three months of 2013, KBC wrote off €773m on problem loans in Ireland following a review of its activities here.

The bank said today that it posted a loss of €17.1m after tax and impairment costs for the first quarter, an improvement on the loss of €46.4m the same time in 2013. 

It said it continued to build up its level of deposits, with total retail deposits now at €3.1 billion as it added over 9,000 customer accounts in the first three months of the year.

KBC Bank Ireland also opened a new banking hub in Dublin city centre and said it would continue its expansion with the purchase of five new sites in Dublin. 

Wim Verbraeken, the chief executive of KCB Bank Ireland, said he was "satisfied" with the bank's performance over the first few months of 2014.

"The financial results and impairments are in line with our expectations and we remain on track to return to profit by 2016," he added.

KBC Bank Ireland employs over 800 people in Ireland, with banking hubs in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.