AIB to incorporate North unit into British arm
AIB unveiled plans to merge its Northern Ireland and British units on to a single operational platform yesterday as the State-controlled bank moves to sharpen its organisational structure and improve efficiencies.
The overhaul was highlighted at the lender's capital markets day in London yesterday and comes ahead of the its much-anticipated initial public offering later this year, which is expected to result in the Government shedding 25pc of its stake in the bank.
AIB UK managing director Brendan O'Connor said the decision to combine the separate units on to the one platform will reduce direct costs by 15 to 20pc and said the bank was "very concerned about being lean and efficient".
The lender remains a niche player in the UK with just 1pc of the market.
While Mr O'Connor described the Northern Ireland market as challenging he said the bank will focus on growing its business banking division in the region.
AIB's organisational reshuffle of these two units will result in up to 200 job losses and the elimination of 15 branches from its Northern Ireland network.
The changes to AIB's UK business came as Ulster Bank announced it would shut nine branches in the North.
The lender blamed the move on a shift to digital technology and said in a statement that it had not taken the decision "lightly".
AIB previously announced plans to close 15 of its 30 remaining branches in Northern Ireland.