Tuesday 21 February 2017

RBS chief 'concerned' over Brexit risks for Ulster Bank

Richard Partington

Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30

Ulster Bank's headquarters in Dublin
Ulster Bank's headquarters in Dublin

Ulster Bank could be cut off from its parent bank if the UK votes to pull out of the European Union (EU), the lender's chairman has warned.

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Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Howard Davies said a British vote to leave the EU would risk cutting the UK state-owned lender off from its Ulster Bank division in the Republic.

"We would be very concerned if we were detached from that bank," Mr Davies, 65, said in an interview with Francine Lacqua and Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.

RBS is considering "what it might mean if we were out whilst owning a bank within the Euro zone" as part of its contingency planning, he said, ahead of Britain's June 23 referendum on its EU membership.

While some global banks with operations in London have said they may move employees in the event of a so-called Brexit, RBS's Irish business presents Mr Davies and RBS chief executive officer Ross McEwan with additional complexity. Ulster Bank is the third-largest lender in the Republic of Ireland.

"There is an issue with our Irish bank we have to be careful about," Davies said.

"There would be an issue with corporate lending into Europe. Could we do that out of a non-EU entity or would we have to have an entity? It's practical issues like that which would affect us," he said. (Bloomberg)

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