This bank tripled negative interest-rate deposits — and expects that business to improve

The Bank of Ireland said on Monday that it tripled negative interest-rate deposits last year — and plans to further increase them in 2021.

Reporting its full-year results, the Bank of Ireland said the volume of customer deposits with negative interest rates was €8.5 billion ($10.2 billion) at the end of December, up from €2.7 billion in 2019. Not surprisingly, that is a good business for the bank. Its funding costs were reduced by €31 million last year from customers who pay to deposit.

The bank charges negative interest rates to businesses, as well as very high-net-worth customers and credit unions. According to the Irish Times, the current threshold for which customers have to pay for the privilege of putting money in the bank is €2.5 million, which the bank may lower to €1 million.

On a conference call with analysts, Chief Financial Officer Myles O’Grady said the bank expects negative-interest-rate-bearing deposits to expand to nearly €15 billion this year, which will benefit the bank by nearly €80 million.

More broadly, the bank said it lost €760 million last year due to €1.1 billion of impairments. Net interest income fell 2%. Its adjusted loss per share of 57 cents beat analysts estimates by 2 cents, according to FactSet

Bank of Ireland shares rose 3% in Dublin trade and have gained 6% over the last 52 weeks.