B'connell and B'duff branches included in UB-PTSB deal

There are three branches currently operating in the county at Cavan Town, Ballyconnell and Ballyjamesduff employing around 40 staff between them.

Banks in Ballyconnell and Ballyjamesduff are among 25 Ulster Bank branches being traded by Ulster Bank to Permanent TSB as part of a new deal struck, details of which were revealed earlier this morning.

According to Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland and NatWest Group plc, they have agreed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Permanent TSB for the proposed sale of “perimeter comprising performing non-tracker mortgages; performing loans in our micro-SME business; Ulster Bank’s Lombard Asset Finance business, including the Lombard digital platform and a subset of Ulster Bank branch locations.”

The deal includes a total of approximately €7.6bn gross performing loans as of March 31 this year, the majority relating to non-tracker mortgages.

Ulster Bank, the State’s third largest lender, a brand synonymous with this region for 180 years, confirmed earlier this year that the brand would soon disappear from the retail landscape in the 26 counties.

There are three branches currently operating in the county at Cavan Town, Ballyconnell and Ballyjamesduff employing around 40 staff between them.

As part of the deal, PTSB has cherry-picked a handful of Ulster Bank’s 88 branch locations. The Cavan Town branch is not included in the list of 25 branches, nor are other still existing branches located in Monaghan Town, Longford, Mullingar and Navan.

Along with the two Cavan branches (Ballyconnell and Ballyjamesduff), PTSB will take over the running of branches in Shannon in Clare; Wilton in Cork; four locations in Donegal (Ballybofey, Buncrana, Donegal Town and Killybegs); six in Dublin (Blackrock, Blanchardstown, Lucan, Ranelagh, Rochestown Ave, Swords Pavilions); three in Galway (Athenry, Eyre Square, Tuam); two in Kildare (Celbridge, Kilcock); Ardee in Louth; Mayo (Belmullet, Westport); Trim in Meath; Thurlus in Tipperary; and Enniscorthy in Wexford.

Ulster Bank say the non-binding MOU is subject to further due diligence, the negotiation and completion of a final binding agreement, obtaining of regulatory approval, and satisfying other conditions. “The proposed sale may not complete on the terms contemplated in the MOU, when envisaged by the MOU, or at all.”

A spokesperson for Ulster Bank stressed that the financial provider will “not close” any branches in 2021, and “do not” anticipate closing any branches in the first half of 2022.

They stated that Ulster Bank branches will “continue to play an important role”, but that in the second half of 2022 the company will begin to “phase out” traditional counter/ cash services to otherwise “concentrate” on in-person support to move bank and/ or close accounts.

As part of the proposed transaction, NatWest Group, parent company to Ulster Bank, will receive a minority non-consolidating equity stake in Permanent TSB.

The statement issued continued: “There are other customers and customer products which are not covered by today’s announcement and we will update on those as appropriate. While performing tracker mortgages are not part of today’s MOU, Ulster Bank and NatWest Group are working on a similar pathway for these customers with strategic banking counterparties. We will update in due course on this.”

They add that while there is no change for customers today, over the coming months Ulster Bank will make a series of changes for our customers as we implement our phased withdrawal.

“We will proactively contact customers when they need to move bank and/ or close accounts. We will ensure that customers have ample time/ notice periods as well as the support they need to complete the process. As part of this, our commitment remains that we will not close any branches in 2021, and we do not anticipate closing any branches in H1 2022. Branches will continue to play an important role and in H2 2022 we will begin to phase out traditional counter/ cash services to concentrate on in-person support to move bank and/ or close accounts.”

The latest change to Ulster Bank’s corporate structure, which is still expected to maintain a presence in the North, follows the closure of the large swathe of branches in recent years.

Belturbet, Killeshandra, Kilnaleck, and a part-time operation in Swanlinbar all closed in 2013, along with the bank’s branch in Castlepollard. The following year branches in Clones and Castleblayney in Co Monaghan; Granard in Co Longford and Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, also shut.

Then in 2017, the lender closed two more branches locally - this time in Arva and Cootehill.