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Bank of Ireland expects modest income growth this year

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General view of a branch of the Bank of Ireland in Dublin
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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Bank of Ireland expects modest growth in net interest income this year, having previously forecast that it would be broadly stable year on year, the bank said on Wednesday after reporting a 10% drop in first half profits.

Net interest income increased by just under 1% to 1.1 billion euros in the first half of the year.

The expected modest growth for the year as a whole includes some benefit from more aggressive European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of England (BOE) rate hikes.

Bank of Ireland's main rival, AIB, said last week that it expected its net interest income to jump by 10% this year as a result of the central bank rate hikes.

Bank of Ireland, the country's largest bank by assets, said its costs excluding acquisitions and one-off investments were 1% lower year on year and expected them to remain lower on an underlying basis for the rest of the year and into 2023.

Its underlying first half profit fell to 419 million euros from 465 million a year earlier after it took an impairment charge of 47 million euros.

Chief Financial Officer Mark Spain told Reuters the bank was taking a cautious approach to provisions and not seeing any evidence of stress in its books.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Jason Neely)

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