Commenting on the decision by Natwest to withdraw Ulster Bank from Ireland, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:

“The outcome will have grave and serious implications and it represents very bad news for customers, staff and banking in Ireland. The news will be of huge concern to the bank’s one million customers, causing uncertainty about their banking needs.

“It’s essential that customers don’t take any rash decisions about switching bank at this point, as they could lose their existing mortgage terms. This development is certainly not in the interest of consumers as it will further limit competition and choice in Irish banking.

“This move by Natwest follows months of speculation, which in itself would have been difficult for staff. This news, which affects 2,800 workers, will cause considerable worry and concern to them and their families.

“The withdrawal of such a big player in Irish banking will have a significant impact. The process of the wind-down will be complicated, and there are many unanswered questions today.

“Attention will move to what will happen now. The Ulster Bank loan books must not end up in the hands of vulture funds. Staff must have the option of transferring with their work, and their terms and conditions need to be protected.

“We need to ensure there is a sustainable banking sector in Ireland. The development of a third banking force, which can compete with Bank of Ireland and AIB, must be a priority for the Government.

“There is a need for a banking forum, which would involve all stakeholders, to look at all aspects of banking policy in Ireland.”

February 19, 2021

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