Business Irish

Sunday 23 April 2017

EBS's sound business base keeps it as a 'standalone'

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

THE EBS will remain as a "standalone" institution for a "material period of time" despite its merger with AIB.

AIB executive chairman David Hodgkinson revealed the bank's strategy for the building society in a media briefing two weeks after the two institutions were merged.

Some expected the EBS's brand to vanish, while AIB was expected to begin culling branches in towns where both institutions have a footprint.

Mr Hodgkinson admitted there might be some "overlap", but insisted there were no plans to tackle the issue in the near future.

"Our sense is that the EBS will remain as a standalone business for a material period of time," he said. "It seems to have a sound business base."

Mr Hodgkinson added that the "narrow focus" of the EBS on the mortgage market meant the merger offered opportunities to "cross sell" AIB's more varied products to the building society's 400,000 customers.

The EBS is expected to take the legal form of an AIB subsidiary, with its own management team.

Secondments between AIB and EBS managers were expected in the short term as the two institutions "get to know each other", sources said.

"I'm not surprised that they're not getting rid of the EBS brand," said one analyst. "Four parties were looking to buy the EBS so there's value there; AIB may even think they can sell it down the line."

Irish Independent

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