Anglo Irish Bank - an active investor in the West Midlands property market - has posted record half-time profits of £263 million, up 35 per cent.
The bank also reported record earnings per share of 29.3p, a rise of 30 per cent. Lending to customers increased by £5 billion net, up 21 per cent on a constant currency basis, while the bank's total assets rose 22 per cent to £42.1 billion and total funding climbed 22 per cent to £35.7 billion. The interim dividend payment is 3.8p, a rise of 20 per cent on 2005.
Group chief executive David Drumm told shareholders: "This has been an outstanding first half performance by the bank with record earnings and growth in lending.
"All divisions delivered increased revenues. Importantly, asset quality remains excellent. The continuing momentum in the business is evidenced by record lending work in progress at the end of March in excess of seven billion euros."
Declan Quilligan, chief executive UK, which generates a third of group profits, added: "This has been a very strong first half for the group and our UK business.
"UK lending in the first half matched the level achieved for all of last year, reflecting the growing strength of our franchise throughout the UK.
"We have a strong pipeline of work in progress - some £1.7 billion - and there is plenty of scope to grow our business in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Scotland and Northern Ireland."
In the Midlands, spokesman Jim Springham said: "Our Midlands business continues to deliver solid growth for the bank. Our loan book in the region now stands at £300 million, fuelled by the continuing vibrancy of the property market in Birmingham and the wider Midlands.
"We look forward to pushing on with our growth plans in the West and East Midlands, encouraged by the growing popularity of our fresh, fast and flexible lending approach in these markets."
Turning to Birmingham's office market, he added: "Prime city centre rents stand close to £27.50 and we are likely to see some noticeable growth in prime rentals as we move through 2006.
"For now prime Grade A space remains limited, although we must bear in mind that 490,000 sq ft of refurbished and new Grade A space - like Baskerville House and Temple Point - is due to come on stream by the end of the year."
Birmingham's retail market also continued to perform very strongly during the period.
"Yields strengthened in 2005 by 0.5 per cent and the sector was 2005's star performer - providing a total return of 20.5 per cent. During the past eight months over £500 million of retail was traded in the city including big ticket sales at Pallasades and Martineau Place," Mr Springham said.
"There has been a strong uptake, particularly of speculative industrial buildings - due mainly to the area's limited land supply.
"Demand at the larger end of the scale continues to be driven by the retail and logistics majors and demand remains strong for freehold units of all sizes. These squeezes on land and supply are likely to push rental growth beyond £6 per sq ft in the longer term.
"Residential has got off to a buoyant start in 2006, with values of around £290 to £300 per sq ft not uncommon on new developments in the city core. Selectively, prices are still likely to grow in line with the national average, due mainly to the historic high levels of supply in the Birmingham area reducing in the next few years.''