Ulster Bank to stay in Ireland, says RBS
Parent company affirms bank’s importance to ‘the whole island’
RBS said a Treasury review had confirmed Ulster Bank was ‘a core business for RBS and acknowledges the importance of Ulster Bank to the whole island of Ireland’. Photograph: PA
It has decided to put much of its Irish business into an internally managed £38 billion “bad” bank, but has opted against a full split, the group announced today.
RBS said Ulster Bank was an “important business for the whole island of Ireland” and added it wanted to ensure it had a viable business model.
Ulster Bank welcomed what it described as the vote of confidence from its parent. It described the announcement as “good news” for its customers and said it was “business as usual” for the bank.
The development comes after yesterday’s announcement by Danske Bank that it is to close its business and personal banking operations here, with the loss of 150 jobs. At the weekend ACCBank said it was to hand back its banking licence next year with the loss of about 180 jobs .
Ulster Bank revealed today it lost a further £132m in the third quarter of this year as it continues to suffer from the impacts of the property crash.
The bank said a company-wide review carried out by the Treasury in Britain had confirmed that it was “a core business for RBS”. Ulster Bank is now working on an internal business review initiated by new chief executive Ross McEwan. This will report back in February.
As part of the review Ulster Bank is likely to transfer around £9 billion (€10.6 billion) worth of assets into the new ‘bad bank’.
“We need to ensure that we have a viable and sustainable business model for Ulster Bank as part of this review. It’s an important business for the whole island of Ireland and we understand the need to get this right,” said Mr McEwan.
Commenting on the declining number of banks operating in the Irish market, he admitted this was a cause of concern.
“ Obviously we need to see a competitive banking sector because the only way back for this country is to have a competitive banking sector. It was inevitable however that as a result of the crash and the recapitalisation of the banks and the deleveraging that followed, that there would be this type of scaleback within the banking sector.”