Ulster Bank is to close down its Republic business over the next few years.
The bank’s parent company, Nat West, made the announcement on Friday.
Ulster Bank is by some measures the third largest bank in the Republic of Ireland but has struggled to be profitable.
Ulster Bank’s business in Northern Ireland will continue to trade but there are concerns the move could impact jobs.
Said Foyle MLA Sinead McLaughlin MLA: “The announcement that Ulster Bank is withdrawing from the banking market in the Republic of Ireland was expected, but is still very disappointing.
“It is at least good news that Ulster Bank will continue to operate in the North. It had been reported that the operations of the whole of Ulster Bank were being reviewed.
“I have been frustrated over recent months that Ulster Bank declined to meet me to discuss its future plans for both the South and the North.
“I requested a meeting to urge it to continue trading in both the North and the South, avoid job losses and not close branches.
“I did meet with the Financial Services Union and supported their calls to avoid job losses.
“Ulster Bank is one of the largest and most important banks in both markets in the North and the South.
“Its withdrawal from the market in the South creates a very difficult situation for consumers and businesses, significantly undermining market competition.
“Ulster Bank is one of only three major banks that operates on a retail basis in both the North and the South, providing all-island, dual currency banking.
“Given the growing importance of the all-island economy following Brexit, the withdrawal of Ulster Bank from banking markets in the South is particularly harmful and badly timed.
“It is essential that the Central Bank of Ireland ensures that Ulster Bank withdraws in a managed way that protects banking competition.
“I yesterday wrote again to the Central Bank to urge it to do this. I am confident that it will seek to protect banking competition, which is already too thin in both the South and the North.
“The closure of Ulster Bank’s operations in the South is not only seriously damaging to the interests of consumers and businesses across Ireland, but it is also a grievous blow to its workforce.
“Thousands of jobs across Ireland are dependent upon Ulster Bank and my sincere sympathies and best wishes go to those who may lose their employment.
“I call on Ulster Bank to act with decency and generosity to those workers who have displayed loyalty to the bank over many difficult years of trading.”UlsTags: