Profits at British bank Barclays’ Irish business fell 18 per cent to €22.5 million last year, according to accounts just filed.
Income at Barclays Ireland plc dipped to €31.9 million in 2017 from €32.35 million the previous year. Barclays' profit for the year was €22.5 million, 8 per cent less than the €24.4 million recorded in 2016.
However, 2016’s results included a €3.8 million once-off payment to its pension scheme following its restructuring. Had it not made this the bank’s profits in 2016 would have been €28 million, meaning that last year’s actual fall in profitability was 18 per cent.
Several factors contributed to the decline in Barclays earnings. Low interest rates and a €2.5 million fall in foreign exchange and trading earnings hit income, while costs rose €1.5 million, partly on the back of the bank hiring 11 extra staff.
Total assets fell to €3.2 billion on December 31st from €3.5 billion a year earlier.
In 2017, Barclays Ireland stopped handling credit card transactions for the group, which transferred this business to another division. This led to a loss of more than €600 million in assets from the Irish arm’s balance sheet.
However, growth in loans to both other banks and to customers helped offset out a portion of this loss. The bank paid its parent an interim dividend of €46.3 million in 2017.
Barclays Ireland loans money to large companies, provides financial services to businesses and invests cash for wealthy individuals.
During the year it agreed to loan €55.1 million to holiday camp company Center Parcs for a development in Co Longford and to increase finance to hotel group Dalata to €62.5 million. More recently it has financed deals in businesses including aircraft leasing, food, hospitality, property, shops and utilities.
A Barclays Ireland spokesman described 2017 as positive. “Our strategy in corporate banking remains centred on working with companies of considerable scale, including leading corporates and multi-nationals.”
The spokesman added that all its businesses grew during the year.