Ulster Bank informs staff of loss of 110 jobs

Creation of 32 debt-collection field posts to bring net employment loss to 78 jobs

The bank has  taken the view that there has been no backlash from Irish customers to dealing with staff in Scotland.

The bank has taken the view that there has been no backlash from Irish customers to dealing with staff in Scotland.

 

Ulster Bank told staff yesterday that it plans to cut 110 jobs from its retail mortgage arrears unit in Ireland and relocate the roles to Edinburgh. However, it intends to create 32 positions for field agents involved in collection work to give a net reduction in its headcount of 78.

The bank’s plan to cut the jobs at its mortgage centre in Sandyford, Co Dublin was revealed by The Irish Times last week.

The cuts are part of a programme announced in 2012 to reduce Ulster Bank’s headcount by 950. The bank declined yesterday to say how many staff have already left under this programme.

“Ulster Bank continues to implement the agreed changes to our operating model and has today communicated some changes to our staff in the retail problem debt management unit,” a spokeswoman for the company said.


Poaching

of staff
All of the main banks here have scrambled to set up arrears units to deal with their enormous bad debts, a problem they did no

t have to deal with to any great degree during the boom years. This has led to them poaching each other’s staff and rising costs emerging.

Ulster Bank established a unit in Edinburgh to deal with its Irish mortgage arrears in 2012. It has now decided to relocate all of the roles to the Scottish capital where a larger pool of workers with experience in this area exists.

The bank has also taken the view that there has been no backlash from Irish customers to dealing with staff in Scotland. However, it has decided it needs more staff in the field, meeting arrears customers face to face. This will bring the number of field agents employed by the bank here to 73.

Staff affected by the redundancies will receive four weeks’ pay per year of service, capped at 104 weeks, inclusive of their statutory entitlement. They can also apply for a vouched sum toward education or retraining.

This decision comes amid concerns that a major restructuring of Ulster Bank could be announced by its UK parent Royal Bank of Scotland on February 27th, when it publishes the results of a group-wide strategic review.

Larry Broderick, general secretary of the Irish Bank Officials’ Association, expressed his concern that the staff based in Edinburgh might not be as “attentive or understanding of the needs of [Irish] customers experiencing significant difficulties with their mortgages”.

He said that bank had rejected its request to defer any decision on the arrears unit until RBS had completed its review.