Lloyds Irish Impairment Charges Fall
More than a fifth of Lloyds Banking Group’s Irish residential mortgage book is impaired or unlikely to be repaid in full, it said today, but its impairment charges fell, the Irish Times reported. In a statement Tuesday, the bank said 67 per cent of all its loans in Ireland were classified as impaired at the end of the first quarter. But the lender's Irish impairment charge fell to £526 million (€643 million) from £1.144 billion a year earlier, and £711 million or the last quarter of 2011, it said. "Impairment coverage has increased in Ireland, primarily reflecting further falls in the commercial real estate market, and further vulnerability exists," it said. Pretax profit for the group more than doubled in the first quarter to £628 million, beating the £422 million median estimate of analysts. The group said it would shrink assets further and faster than forecast, as Britain's biggest mortgage lender reduces its reliance on short-term funding. Lloyds raised its asset-reduction plan for the year by 5 billion to at least £30 billion and expects to meet its 2014 target a year early, London-based Lloyds said in a statement. Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio is seeking to strengthen Lloyds's balance sheet by selling assets, cutting costs and boosting its capital strength. Lloyds, which cut more than 30,000 jobs since its £20 billion taxpayer rescue in 2008, reduced its reliance on short-term funding by 41 per cent in the first quarter. Read more.