DUBLIN, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Bank of Ireland said it anticipates that its net interest margin - a gauge of the profitability of its lending - will keep expanding after crossing a target of 2 percent following stellar growth last year.
The bank, which turned a profit for the first time in five years in the first half of this year, said on Friday that its margin improved to 2.05 percent in the period to end-June with further increases in new lending needed to push it on further.
"We're not resting at 2 percent. The jaws continue to widen. It'll be more gradual from here, but we would anticipate that it would continue to grow," Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher told reporters.
Boucher added that bad-loan charges would keep trending down after falling by more than 40 percent to 444 million euros($594.29 million) in the first six months of the year and that the bank had seen a broad-based pick up in credit demand over the last two months.
1 US dollar = 0.7471 euro Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Matt Driskill