KBC Bank Ireland has reported net profit of €24.9 million after tax and impairments for the first half of 2019, which was well down on the €116 million reported this time last year.

The bank's overall parent group reported net profit of €1.175 billion which was down 6% on the first half of 2018.

KBC Bank reduced its impaired loans by 23% to €1.9 billion in Ireland. In June, KBC successfully closed the transaction announced on 12 April 2019 to sell its legacy performing corporate loan portfolio of roughly €260m to Bank of Ireland.

The bank reported a strong performance with mortgage applications and drawdowns outperforming the mortgage market in the first six months of the year, with applications up 19% and drawdowns up 18%.

New mortgage lending of €495 million in the first half of 2019 was an increase of 18% compared to the same period last year, as KBC added 38,000 new customer accounts up to June 30.

Peter Roebben, Chief Executive, KBC Bank Ireland said, "We are bringing even more competition to the mortgage market by reducing our 2 and 10-year fixed rates by between 0.20% and 0.55%. This reduction is part of our ongoing commitment to provide customers with better long term value and lower mortgage repayments."

Its total number of customers increased by 9% year on year, and now stands at just below 300,000.