AIB signals tracker scandal cost capped

AIB seems to have capped its part of the bill for the industry-wide mortgage tracker scandal. It is unlikely to add significantly to the €190m provision set aside two years ago, writes Eamon Quinn.

Its shares, which had risen sharply on the release of a trading update, ended slightly higher in the session. The bank has previously said that it has dealt with 3,416 tracker customers who were charged the wrong interest rate. But that number is likely to grow, later this month, when AIB, along with other lenders, issues updates on the numbers affected by the scandal. Nonetheless, AIB said it had progressed in identifying the number of customers and “any change in provisioning levels, as we conclude, is not expected to have a material impact”. Mortgage loan drawdowns, up 29% in the quarter, helped drive lending, and its level of impaired loans fell by €500m, to €7.3bn, at the end of September, from June.

Eurozone lenders, particularly in Italy and Ireland, are under ECB pressure to reduce a large amount of non-performing loans they still carry on their books.

It said net interest margin, or NIM, a key gauge of profitability, rose by three basis points, to 2.57%, over the first nine months of the year and expected a write-back of provisions in the full-year earnings.

Investec Ireland analyst, Owen Callan, said the update reflected “another strong set of results”.

Davy said: “This is a strong statement, underpinned by significant margin and capital gains that, if sustained, will likely result in mid-single-digit upgrades to our 2018 and 2019 forecast profits.”

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