Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Department of Finance
11. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will report on discussions he has had with the management of banks (details supplied) in relation to the closure of a bank; the steps he will take to ensure the protection of jobs and services in the bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44871/21]
My officials and I have ongoing engagement with each of the banks in which the State has a shareholding, including PTSB. This engagement has been in place since the State first invested in the banks and it includes regular meetings where a wide range of topics are discussed.
With regard to the withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Irish market, I have had various discussions with its management on this issue. There has been several developments in relation to the Ulster Bank withdrawal in recent months:
- On 11 June, Ulster Bank announced that a new Colleague Agreement has been reached with the Financial Services Union subject to a ballot of its members.
- On 28 June, Ulster Bank agreed a legally binding agreement with AIB in respect of a €4.2bn portfolio of performing loan products.
- On 23 July, Ulster Bank reached a non-binding agreement with PTSB for the proposed sale of €7.6bn performing loans, Ulster Bank’s Lombard Asset Finance business, and 25 of 88 Ulster Bank branch locations. I note that if this potential transaction is delivered, it is expected that between 400 and 500 Ulster Bank employees will transfer to PTSB.
I am advised by the Central Bank that it issued an industry letter on 25 June regarding its consumer protection expectations in the changing retail banking landscape. These expectations reflect its assessment of possible risks to consumers during periods of change and reinforce previously communicated expectations, based on its experience of prior events.
I welcome the agreements which have been put in place by Ulster Bank so far, and I am supportive of an outcome that would see the successful delivery of the potential agreement with PTSB. The agreement with PTSB is subject to further due diligence, negotiation, and the completion of a final binding agreement and obtaining of regulatory approvals.
Tomorrow, I am due to meet Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest, Sir Howard Davies, Chair of NatWest, Jane Howard, the CEO of Ulster Bank, and Martin Murphy, the Chair of Ulster Bank. While this meeting is intended to be general in nature, I will emphasise the importance of an orderly withdrawal.