By David Brophy
AIB has reported a loss after tax of €741m for the year to the end of December 2020.
The bank said the ‘challenging operating environment for European banks remained in 2020’ with uncertainties created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, bank deposits increased 14% to €82 billion last year, with the growth in savings mainly due to Covid-19 restrictions.
AIB said that 66,000 payment breaks were granted to its customers to help support them during the Covid-19 crisis, with 88% of these already returned to normal terms.
New mortgage lending reduced 21% in the year to €2.3 billion and its personal lending was 10% lower than the previous year.
Subject to due diligence, AIB is to acquire a €4 billion portfolio of performing corporate and commercial loans from Ulster Bank.
Earlier this week it also announced a deal to buy stockbroking firm Goodbody for €138m.
Looking ahead, AIB said that while in the near term uncertainty remains high, overall it remains positive in a return to profitability in 2021 and a resumption of normal dividend distributions in line with regulatory guidelines.
AIB's chief executive Colin Hunt said the bank's results have been shaped by Covid-19, but he added that the "fundamentals of the business remain robust, sustainable and strong".
"We entered this crisis in a position of capital strength which, enabled by our leading digital technology, allowed us to deliver unprecedented levels of support to our customers, communities and the economy when it mattered most," Colin Hunt said.
"Now, I look forward with confidence as we implement our strategy to 2023 at pace, demonstrated by our growth initiatives announced this year. We remain driven by our ambition to be at the heart of our customers' financial lives while sustainably creating value and returns to our shareholders," he added.