Finance Ireland has said it is actively considering an entrance into the mortgage market as it reported record profits and new lending for last year.

Finance Ireland's backers include the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and to date it has been focused on the likes of motor finance and SME loans.

Any mortgage products would be offered through its broker network, with a decision likely in the coming weeks.

Finance Ireland said its pre-tax profit rose to €8.3m, a jump of 226% on continuing operations. Net revenues for the year increased by 54% to €26.3m

It also reported record new lending of €435m to SMEs, property owners, farmers and consumers.

New lending in commercial mortgages rose 382% to €123m while SME lending increased by 50% to €42m.

Finance Ireland also reported €243m of lending in motor finance for last year.

Finance Ireland's chief executive Billy Kane said that 2017 was a great year for the group.

"We increased lending across all of our divisions and are now the non-bank lender of choice to SMEs, property owners, farmers and consumers through our specialist lending teams," Mr Kane said.

He also accepted that if Finance Ireland does enter the mortgage market here, it will be a relatively small player, but any extra choice should be good for consumers if it does happen.