Potential Ulster Bank exit must be tackled by Minister for Finance
18 February 2021
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
- 2,800 jobs at risk and loss of competition will cost customers
- Minister should use role to help reshape banking market
- Potential for a real third force in banking must be considered.
Deputy Nash said:
“A final decision from Nat West on the future of Ulster Bank is imminent.
“If the bank is to exit the Irish market as is being widely speculated the most immediate and devastating impact will be on its 2,800 staff and their thousands of customers.
“Any exit would also most likely result in a growing dominance of the AIB/Bank of Ireland duopoly meaning less competition and choice in an already expensive market for customers.
“The potential for loans to simply be sold off to the highest bidder is also bad news for customers.
“I am really concerned that so many good jobs could be lost in the Irish banking sector and the government simply cannot stand idly by.
“Any exit being considered should see the maximum number of jobs saved and transfer of undertakings (TUPE) laws should apply in any sale of the bank or merger to protect pay and terms and conditions.
“The loss of more competition from the domestic banking market will also be devastating for Irish businesses if this goes ahead unchallenged.”
Deputy Nash added;
“Good banking jobs can be maintained and an opportunity has presented itself to create a real third force in Irish banking if the government acts quickly.
“Instead of allowing the assets of Ulster Bank and its customers to be flogged off to vulture funds and the long standing business unpicked, there should be political intervention by the Minister to work towards the delivery of a real third force in Irish banking using the State-owned Permanent TSB to develop real competition to Bank of Ireland and AIB.
“Government must take a hands-on approach. The Minister for Finance has a pivotal role in this process as it reaches the end-game.
“He has major decisions to make in the coming days that will shape the future of our banking system and our economic recovery and he must take that responsibility to Ulster Bank workers, customers and the wider economy very seriously indeed.”