Bank of Ireland has reported a pre-tax profit of €920m for 2014 an improvement of €1.4 billion on last year's result. 

A big part of that was a €1.2 billion fall in the charge the bank had to take for bad loans. Its impairment charge for the year was €840m. Bank of Ireland, like Ulster Bank which reported yesterday, has also been able to write back some of the charges it took in previous years largely due to rising house prices. The bank says its gross new lending to customers in 2014 was €10 billion, a 50% increase. But the bank's loan book is still €2.4 billion lower than in 2013 taking account of €14 billion worth of loan sales, repayments and redemptions.

Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher said all the bank's division were profitable in 2014. Mr Boucher said the bank had seen a significant fall in the number of customers in arrears and also in the the number of customers who were defaulting on their debts. "We've seen arrears fall by 20% and we've seen defaulted loans fall by about 18%," he said. The Bank CEO said that it  repossessed about 200 homes last year as well as 1,100 buy-to-let properties.

Nine out of ten customers who have had their home loans restructured by Bank of Ireland are meeting their new payment terms, according to Mr Boucher. He said about one in three of the restructured loans involved the mortgage holders having their payment terms extended to reduce their monthly payments.

Last year Bank of Ireland wrote back the value of some of the debts it had written down in previous years. Much of the €280m in charges written back came about because of rising house prices. Mr Boucher said the bank had not taken "the full amount of the house price increase" onto its mortgage book.

Asked about his upcoming appearance at the Banking Inquiry, before which he has been summoned to appear on May 6, he said: "There's going to be a focus on my job in the bank prior to taking over as chief executive in 2009. We made mistakes. Our mistakes were maybe not as bad as other people but they were very serious," he stated.

MORNING BRIEFS - Banana prices are likely to rise as fruit company Fyffes is looking to push through price increases in response to a strengthening of the US dollar and sterling against the euro. Much of Fyffes cost base would be in dollars. Its revenue was up just under 1% to €1.09 billion last year according to results published this morning and it delivered a pre-tax profit of €38.2m up from €28.7m.

*** Eircom's revenue for its financial first half, the second half of last year in calendar terms, was down 4% to €629m compared to the same period in 2013. Eircom said its earnings before interest tax and depreciation were €226m for the half, down 4%. 

*** Carphone Warehouse Ireland bounced back from a €9.6m loss to turn in a €2.1m profit in 2014. The retailer credited a series of new partnerships with Sky, UPC, Harvey Norman and Clery's which helped it increase revenues by 13% over the previous year. 

*** Netflix is squeezing extra revenue out of subscribers in its core US market to help fund new programming such as House of Cards. The third series of the political drama, which costs $100m for each 13 episode run, will be made available to Netflix subscribers this morning. Its part of a $9.5 billion budget Netflix has earmarked over the next five years for acquiring films and TV programmes and, increasingly, funding its own productions. Analysis by Bloomberg shows the average revenue Netflix is bringing in from US subscribers has increased in each of the last three months from around $7.50 to $8.11.