Irish Life & Permanent has seen a surge in lending for the first six months of 2006 and expects the final increase to be almost 50% over the first half of 2005, the bank said today.
The lendings hike is being driven largely by mortgages, the value of which is expected to top €4bn in the first six months of the year, compared to €2.5bn for the same period last year.
"Both consumer and commercial lending are also experiencing strong demand with combined new lending of over €1bn, up over 50%," the bank added.
New lending at Capital Home Loans, the group’s UK mortgage company, is also expected to be more than €1bn, just ahead of the first six months of 2005.
The bank also revealed in today's trading statement that it had opened more than 30,000 new current accounts in the first six months of the year. It expects current account balances to show high teens growth year on year.
Overall, bank revenues are expected to show mid-teens growth in the first six months on the back of the growth in net interest income and an improved treasury result compared to the first half of 2005.
Looking forward, the bank said today: "The strength of the economy in general and the labour and the housing markets in particular are positive for both our banking and life businesses, as is the impact of maturing SSIA funds.
"We are optimistic for the outcome for the year as a whole but would expect some slowdown in the rate of growth in the second half of the year given the exceptionally strong comparative performance in the second half of 2005."