Certus looks to cut 225 jobs from loan servicing business

Reduction in legacy BoS(I) business will see offices in Galway, Waterford and Sligo close

Dublin-based specialist loan servicing group Certus is seeking 225 redundancies from its 1,000-strong workforce in a bid to reshape the business.

It is understood the decision to resize Certus is the result of Lloyds Banking Group selling off more and more of its legacy loans in Ireland, which relate to the former Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and Halifax banking businesses.

Certus was effectively an offshoot of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) when it was set up in January 2011. It was led and staffed by many of that bank’s employees, and it took on the role of managing the Irish loan book for Lloyds.

Lloyds has shrunk its loan portfolio in Ireland substantially over the past few years following the closure of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and Halifax. At the end of 2010 the face value of its loan book here was £27.4 billion. This fell to £15.5 billion by the end of last year, and the British bank continues to reduce its exposure to this market.

The redundancies are being sought on a voluntary basis, with the company engaging with trade union Unite on the job cuts. The company expects to complete the redundancies by September 30th.

Eight weeks
It is expected that staff will be offered severance of eight weeks' pay per year of service, capped at 143 weeks. This mirrors a redundancy package offered by the bank in 2010 when it was closing down.

Certus is also planning to close three of its six regional offices between June and September. The offices affected are in Galway, Sligo and Waterford.

In a statement released to The Irish Times , chief executive Joe Higgins said: "As with any outsource service provider, we need to meet the demands of our clients and continue to provide them with dexcellent service in the most cost effective manner. This means ensuring that we are the right size and structured appropriately.

“Regrettably, we need to reduce our workforce this year, which will, hopefully, be achieved on a voluntary basis.”

While Lloyds is a major customer for Certus, the company has also secured mandates from other financial groups here, including AIB, Permanent TSB and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).