Bank of Ireland said it continues to trade in line with expectations and that economic growth in its core markets of Ireland and the UK remain positive despite the uncertainties related to Brexit. 

In a trading update for the third quarter, Bank of Ireland said that new lending in the first nine months of 2019 was about 4% higher than the same time in 2018. 

Its market share of new mortgage lending in Ireland averaged about 23% in the first eight months of 2019 with strong positive momentum in market share of mortgage applications during the quarter. 

The bank noted that while SME lending demand has been impacted by Brexit uncertainty, it continued to see good year on year growth in both applications and drawdowns.

Asset quality across its loan portfolios has also continued to improve, the bank said.  

Bank of Ireland said its non-performing exposures (loans) have reduced by €0.4 billion since the end of June to €3.8 billion at the end of September 2019, giving an NPE ratio of 4.7%. 

Meanwhile, customer deposits stood at €81.8 billion and wholesale funding was €10.3 billion at the end of September.

The bank said its Net Interest Margin (NIM) - a key measure of bank profitability - stood at 2.15% at the end of September. It said this reflected stable loan asset spreads which were offset by lower interest rates.

Expectations for the full year margin are unchanged, the bank said. 

"As guided in July, full year NIM is expected to be slightly lower than 2.16%, reflecting the lower interest rate environment," it added.

During the nine months under review, Bank of Ireland sold a portfolio of non-performing loans - mainly consisting of buy-to-let properties - and with a gross book value of about €0.25 billion. This saw the bank reduce its NPE ratio below 5%.

It also extended its long term financial services partnership with the UK Post Office to at least the end of 2026.

"The extension of the group's longstanding partnership with the Post Office has further enhanced alignment of both parties, to drive mutual benefits, and is consistent with the group's strategy to improve returns in our UK business," the bank said.