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Ulster Bank announces phased withdrawal from Ireland

Written by Robert McHugh, on 19th Feb 2021. Posted in Ireland

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Ulster Bank Ireland announced today that, following a strategic review undertaken by its parent company NatWest Group, it will commence a phased withdrawal managed in an "orderly and considered manner", from the Republic of Ireland over the coming years. The decision to withdraw from the market does not impact Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland.
 
As part of this phased withdrawal, a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AIB has been agreed for the sale of a c.€4bn portfolio of performing commercial loans, and the transfer of the colleagues wholly or mainly assigned to this loan book. The potential sale contemplated by the MoU remains subject to due diligence, further negotiation and agreement of final terms and definitive documentation. 

Ulster Bank says the proposed sale may not be concluded on the terms contemplated in the MoU, or at all, and that relationship managers will continue to actively engage with business customers throughout this process.

NatWest Group is also in early discussions with Permanent TSB Group among other strategic banking counterparties about their potential interest in buying certain retail and SME assets, liabilities and operations. These discussions may or may not result in agreement. Ulster Bank said in a statement that its preference is to continue to focus discussions with counterparties who can provide customers with full banking services in the Irish market. The Bank says it will continue to communicate with customers throughout this process and remains open for business, new and existing through all business channels.
 
Announcing the phased withdrawal, Ulster Bank Chief Executive Officer, Jane Howard said, "The decision by NatWest to withdraw from this market is hugely disappointing and today will be a difficult and worrying time for our colleagues across the Bank. It may also lead to customer questions and concerns as to how this decision may impact them and their day-to-day banking needs. I want to be clear that there will be no change for customers today, changes will happen over the coming years."

She added, "Ulster Bank will continue to offer a full banking service in our branches, online and through normal channels for existing and new customers for the foreseeable future. Customers do not need to take any action as a consequence of this announcement. We will communicate with customers in a timely manner over the coming weeks and months."

Source: www.businessworld.ie

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