Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.25 21 Oct 2020


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Ulster Bank says no decision has been taken yet on whether its Irish operations will be wound down.

It comes after Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe held a virtual meeting with senior management of the bank on Wednesday.

This included the chair of the board of Ulster Bank, Ruairí O'Flynn, and the bank's CEO Jane Howard.

Ulster Bank employs around 2,400 people across the country and has 88 branches nationwide.

Its parent company, Britain's Natwest, is carrying out a strategic review with concerns that could result in the bank being wound down.

Minister Donohoe said he "expressed concern" about the ongoing speculation of the bank's future in Ireland.

He also emphasised the importance of Ulster Bank to the Irish financial services market, to the wider economy and to the communities it serves.

Minister Donohoe outlined that staff, customers and other stakeholders "must be informed promptly about any decisions being made."

He said in particular, he expects that staff representatives will be consulted and kept informed.

Ulster Bank confirmed that the strategic review is ongoing and that no decision has yet been taken.

It also said that there is no set timetable for this review.

The Irish Government has no formal role in the commercial decisions of Ulster Bank.

Minister Donohoe said he would engagement further with the bank as the review continues.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast ahead of the meeting, Minister Donohoe said: "I'm well aware of all of the speculation in relation to the future of the bank.

"The impact that has on its staff, not to mention - and in addition to that - those who have loans from Ulster Bank.

"That's why it's appropriate that I meet them today and gain a deeper understanding of the process that is underway".

Last month, the bank announced it was to cut 266 jobs as part of plans to reduce costs.

Some 213 of those roles will be cut in the Republic, with the remaining 53 going in Northern Ireland.

The bank said it was hoping to reduce its workforce through voluntary redundancies where possible.

While some fixed-term positions would not be renewed and operational changes will be implemented.

Main image: File photo shows Ulster Bank on Dame Street in Dublin city centre. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

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Irish Financial Services Jane Howard Natwest Paschal Donohoe Ruairí O'Flynn Ulster Bank

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