It said that given the scale of the impact on its customers, it expects there will be additional costs over the coming months as it continues ”the process of putting things right”.
Ulster Bank today reported an operating loss of £555m for the first six months of the year, this compares to £543m the same time last year.
The bank said its impairment losses eased slightly to £717m from £730m for the six month period.
It said this reflected a reduction in mortgage provisions as the level of deterioration in mortgages in default and the rate of decline in house prices slowed.
But it said that the market remains challenging and it continues to see elevated levels of arrears.
Income for the six month period fell to £325m from £363m mainly due to the continued elevated cost to the bank for funding and deposits.
But expenses eased to £258m from £278m as the implementation of cost management initiatives continued to progress.
Ulster Bank’s chief executive Jim Brown said the bank continues to work with customers who are in financial difficulty to offer them appropriate support initiatives.
”Our forebearance arrangements are tailored to reflect individual circumstances and we continue to actively encourage our customers to contact us if they have any concerns about their financial health or are experiencing financial difficulty,” he added.
Ulster Bank’s parent bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, today said that it racked up more than £300m worth of charges today as it counted the cost of an IT meltdown and two mis-selling scandals.
The bank set aside £125m for dealing with the fallout of the computer glitch that locked many RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers out of their accounts.
The group took a £135m hit to cover the cost of payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling, bringing its total bill to £1.3 billion. It also took a £50m charge to compensate small businesses that were mis-sold complex interest rate swaps.
The mounting provisions came as the bank, which has 30 million customers worldwide, unveiled a pre-tax loss of £1.5 billion, compared to a £794m loss last year.
“We have continued to make the bank safer and stronger as we clean up problems of the past,” RBS chief executive Stephen Hester said.
RBS said it had dismissed a number of employees for misconduct as a result of investigations into the fixing of Libor – the interbank lending rate at the heart of the most recent scandal to rock the banking industry.
The group said it continued to co-operate with investigations but, like Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC before it, said it was not possible to measure the impact on the bank, including the timing and amount of fines or settlements.
IT glitch being investigated by external parties
The IT glitch that hit RBS group systems on June 19 is being investigated by an independent external counsel with the assistance of third party advisors.
The group said it has agreed to reimburse customers for any loss suffered as a result of the incident and warned additional costs may arise once all redress and business disruption items are clear. A further update will be given in the third quarter.
Mr Hester, who waived his 2012 annual bonus in light of the IT fiasco, said recent mistakes had seen the banking sector’s reputation “fall to new lows”.
“We are in a chastening period for the banking industry. The consequences of the sector’s past over-expansion are still being accounted for, probably with some way still to go. The mistakes and vulnerabilities carried over from that period are both financial and cultural,” he said.
Looking within the results, the group revealed a 14% slide in total income to £13.6 billion while its core banking operations saw a 19% drop in operating profits to £3.2 billion.
Staff costs were 4% lower in the period, RBS said, with employee numbers down by 5,700, driven by cuts in its markets and international banking arm. The bank revealed a near 40% slide in its bad debt charges to £2.6 billion while total exposure to the troubled euro zone fell 8% to £218 billion.
The group said its plans to float insurance arm Direct Line on the stock exchange in the second half of this year remain on track. Direct Line saw a 6% rise in operating profit to £219m in the period, with significantly improved claims levels, despite the impact of more severe weather.
The bank said gross mortgage lending in the first half of the year came to £7.7 billion, with net new lending of more than £3 billion.