Ulster Bank to announce job losses in effort to reduce costs


ULSTER BANK is reported to be preparing its second round of redundancies in four years as it attempts to save about €50 million, according to two individuals with knowledge of the plan.

The Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary, which eliminated 1,000 jobs in 2009, or about one-seventh of its workforce, plans to make an announcement tomorrow as its Edinburgh-based parent also unveils restructuring measures.

The announcement comes amid a growing controversy about executive pay at the government-owned bank. Yesterday the Financial Timesreported John Hourican, chief executive of RBS’s investment bank, stood to receive a special bonus of more than £4 million (€4.8 million) in April, under a deal made in 2009.

“Yesterday David Cameron toured the television studios posing as a prime minister tough on excessive pay rewards,” said David Fleming, national union officer for Unite. “Today we see the 84 per cent government backed bank completely ignoring his pleas.”

Not all of the savings at Ulster will come from eliminating jobs, according to one source. Ulster Bank, where assets doubled to £55 billion in the four years through the 2007 peak of the property boom, took a 7.5 per cent impairment charge against its loans between 2008 and 2010, according to a report from the UK Financial Services Authority.

RBS has injected about €6.7 billion into Ulster Bank since 2008 amid mounting losses, according to filings and newspaper reports.

An RBS official declined to comment. Tomorrow the bank will announce plans to close its equities and corporate finance units globally, cutting up to 5,000 jobs, two people familiar with the situation have previously said. Ulster Bank chief executive Jim Brown said in an interview with The Irish Timesin October that he “wouldn’t rule out job losses, but it is not something we have formed a view on”. – (Bloomberg)