B of I to relocate headquarters of three subsidiaries


BANK of Ireland will move its life assurance and asset finance subsidiaries into its Dublin headquarters and its mortgage subsidiary to another bank-owned location.

Lifetime Assurance and Bank of Ireland Finance will be moved into the Baggot Street headquarters, while the ICS building society will be moved into a "non-branch" bank building.

Confirming the bank's plans a spokeswoman said the moves, which will take place over the next year, aimed to achieve "more appropriate utilisation of space". The moves would result in cost savings for the bank, she said.

Asked if there would be any change in the status of the businesses being moved into headquarters, she stated they would remain "stand alone" subsidiaries.

The vacated buildings will be sold, or, where the properties are leasehold, the leases will be sold.

Bank of Ireland has started a major refurbishment of its headquarters in Dublin to extend accommodation there. The Baggot Street headquarters was built in 1971 and currently accommodates 900 Bank of Ireland employees. By the end of next year an additional 400 employees will be based there.

"The refurbishment at headquarters will be costly but there will be a sizeable net gain overall," the spokeswoman said. The refurbishment work would not be completed until the end of 1997, she added.

Lifetime Assurance, where 250 people are employed, is currently located in a leased multi-storey building at Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin. Bank of Ireland is looking for £1 million for the lease on the 55,000 sq ft property, which is located opposite the National Concert Hall.

Lifetime's move to headquarters will save Bank of Ireland the annual rent of £800,000 it pays on the Earlsfort Terrace building.

Bank of Ireland Finance is based in a 23,000 sq ft building owned by the bank on Burlington Road in Ballsbridge. Some 150 people are employed there. The building, which has valuable car parking, is understood to be on the market with an asking price of about £4 million. The bank plans to vacate the premises in October 1997.

ICS is based on Westmoreland Street and D'Olier Street in the centre of Dublin. Property sources said the 25,000 sq ft building, which does not have any car parking, was worth about £3 million.

With profits on core business under pressure in competitive financial markets, all of the banks are looking for ways to reduce costs without any deterioration in service to customers.

Last month Bank of Ireland reported pre-tax profits of £193 million for the six months to the end of September.