Friday, March 14 12:38:50
Ulster Bank's plans for over 1,000 additional job losses and 40 more branch closures "will come as a shaterring blow to both staff and customers", said IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, today.
His comments come in response to an extensive interview in today's Irish Times by the Bank's Chief Executive, Jim Brown.
"Over 1,600 permanent jobs have already been cut in Ulster Bank in the last four years. So further job losses on this scale are bound to have an impact on the level of service to customers - whether these losses are planned among front-line staff in branches or in the many supporting roles - which may now be outsourced or off-shored to locations outside Ireland. At the same time, the planned closure of another 20pc of Ulster Bank's branch network will cause additional barriers to customer acess," Mr Broderick said.
"Ulster Bank is one of many banks which appear to be using internet banking and mobile phone as the pretext for withdrawing face-to-face services to customers. Ulster Bank, of all banks, should know how dangerous it is to become too dependent on IT solutions."
"Equally disconcerting is Mr. Brown's confirmation today that Ulster Bank is in discussions which could lead to either a change in ownership of the Bank in the Republic of Ireland or further restructuring involving a merger with one or more other institutions. Such a development would also have major implications for both staff and customers. "While IBOA had been seeking clarification from Ulster Bank management about its plans for the future in the wake of all the recent speculation, the Bank's response - repeated as late as yesterday - was that the plans had still to be finalised."
"Clearly, the Bank's plans were far more advanced if Mr. Brown was able to provide so much detail to the Irish Times. It is disappointing that Ulster Bank's customers and employees had to learn of these wide-ranging plans through a newspaper interview. It is especially disappointing considering the support given by customers and the sacrifices made by staff in very difficult circumstances. It does seem to match up to the declarations of both RBS Chief Executive, Ross McEwan, and Jim Brown, himself, to put the customers at the heart of everything the bank does."