Danske Bank sets course for record-breaking year

200-year-old bank reports £51.3m profit in first three months of 2024

Danske Bank profits
Danske Bank UK chief executive Vicky Davies. The bank has reported a profit before tax of £51.3m in the first quarter of this year (Elaine Hill Photography)

Danske Bank could be on course for another record-breaking trading year.

In the first three months of 2024, it reported a profit before tax of £51.3 million, driven by lending growth and higher UK interest rates.

Last year Danske - which this year marks mark 200 years as a local bank - reported an 80% rise in pre-tax profit to £186 million.

And the bank’s chief executive Vicky Davies says she’s expecting “further improvement”, given the return to more normal levels of activity in the housing market.

Lending between January and March was up 5% year on year to £6.1 billion while deposits lifted by 1% to £10.6 billion.

Mortgage lending approvals in Northern Ireland were up over 50% year-on-year, but that is compared to a particularly quiet first quarter in 2023, which the bank says reflects a return to more normal levels of activity in the housing market.

“Looking ahead, with markets expecting the Bank of England base rate to ease back, we are projecting that this improved demand for mortgages will continue,” Ms Davies said.

“Around 60% of new mortgage customers in quarter one opted for a two-year fixed mortgage product. In 2022 only 27% of customers opted for this product, with many at that time choosing to fix for longer.

“We believe this indicates more customers are now anticipating a greater potential for nearer term rate reductions.”

In February Danske said it will close its branches in Carrickfergus, Saintfield, Knock and Shipquay Place in Derry city centre on June 7, with all external bank machines also removed. This will reduce its branch network to 24.

Ms Davies went on: “The first three months of the year also saw us support the Northern Ireland business community with over £200 million in business lending approvals.

“Small business account applications in quarter one were up 32% year-on-year and we are currently offering two years fee-free banking to small businesses if they switch to Danske Bank and open a small business digital account.

Danske Bank currently operate28 branches around Northern Ireland.
Danske Bank said in February that it will close four more branches in June, reducing its banks network to 24

“In addition to our easy-to-use digital banking platforms, small business customers are supported through a strong local presence on the ground in Northern Ireland through our branches, contact centres and business advisor teams. Small businesses can apply to become a customer digitally through our website.

“In personal banking we have also invested in new customer onboarding digital solutions, and you can apply for a Danske personal current account online in less than ten minutes.

“Last year we opened over 12,000 new personal current accounts, and this year, to help attract even more new customers, we are currently offering a £200 switching incentive for people in Northern Ireland who wish to switch their personal current account over to Danske Bank.”

Meanwhile Danske Bank’s Copenhagen-headquartered parent company reported net profit of 5.6 billion Danish krone (£0.64 billion) over the first quarter.