Brexit boosts Ireland’s international banking sector

Ireland moves up global, EU rankings as banks relocate post Brexit

Brexit has boosted Ireland’s international banking sector, increasing their balance sheets and moving the sector up the international and EU rankings.

A new report, Supporting Ireland’s Success - The Contribution of International Banking, found Brexit was a key driver of change in the sector here, with the expansion of the banks in the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU adding €200 billion to their balance sheets between 2015 and July 2021.

It ranked Ireland’s international banking sector as 17th largest in the world and eighth largest in the EU, up from 19th and ninth a year earlier.

The report, published by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) and its affiliate the Federation of International Banks in Ireland (FIBI), highlights Ireland's role as a key hub for access to EU market follwoing Brexit.


The ECB has ranked Ireland second in terms of the size of value of assets moved into EU banks following Britain's vote to leave the EU, just behind Germany.

"While Ireland's international financial services sector has steadily grown over the decades, the UK's exit from the EU has accelerated this trend, with Ireland now one of the key EU hubs for international banking and capital markets activity," said Fiona Gallagher, FIBI chair and chief executive of Wells Fargo Bank International.

“ Many UK and global banking groups built-up or established new Irish entities to service EU clients post-Brexit. This has seen an influx of new staff, assets, risk management capabilities and investment services activities in Ireland.


“In addition, EU branch networks have also been revised, for example by transferring EU branches of UK entities to their (new) EU entities in Ireland. International banking operations in Ireland are now acting as a key bridge to servicing the EU market, directly and through its vast EU branch networks.”

Some 75 per cent of Ireland’s international banks are involved in implementation of sustainable finance, with more than half believing there is an opportunity for global leadership for their Irish operation in the sector.

“As we look to the future, the single greatest challenge is undoubtedly climate change and sustainable finance,” said Ms Gallagher.

“ Our banks are well positioned to help businesses and customers transition to a low carbon economy and ensure that Ireland meets it climate targets. This transition offers great opportunities for the sector, which FIBI members are keen to develop. Our collective ambition is to make Ireland a key hub for sustainable finance over the coming decade, while supporting both our international and Irish clients.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist