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200 jobs at risk at National Irish Bank as head office is reviewed

Up to 200 jobs at National Irish Bank are at risk after the bank confirmed it is reviewing its head office operations here.

The move comes as the bank and the Irish Bank Officials' Association (IBOA) hammered out redundancy terms for 100 staff affected by the imminent closure of National Irish Bank's 27 branches.

The loss-making bank said that a review of its head office functions -- which are based at Tallaght, Dublin -- is to start in the first quarter of 2013 with a view to being completed by the end of next June.

About 100 jobs at the head office are among the most likely to be affected by the review. There are about 180 people employed at the head office.

NIB and the IBOA confirmed yesterday that staff under-50 impacted by the 100 job losses related to branch closures are each being offered five weeks' pay per year worked, in addition to statutory entitlements.

It's thought that the 100 voluntary redundancies have been secured by the bank.

"While the IBOA takes no pleasure in the continued loss of employment in Irish banking, we nevertheless appreciate that the severance terms eventually agreed in NIB with the assistance of the mediator provide for voluntary redundancy and early retirement on terms that have been endorsed by our members," said IBOA general secretary Larry Broderick.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Broderick said that the IBOA now wanted clarity on what Danske Bank's plans are for the rest of its operations in Ireland. Danske Bank is the Danish parent of NIB.

He said the union had begun a "broader process of engagement" with Danske Bank on its strategy to integrate its operations on the island of Ireland, which includes NIB and Northern Bank in Northern Ireland.

Those two banks are to be rebranded under the Danske name from November.

Mr Broderick said the union met Danske officials last week in relation to the integration process.

A spokesman for NIB confirmed the impending review of the Dublin head office, but said the outcome of that review could not be predicted.

He also said Danske was "fully committed" to its Irish operations.

There are expectations, however, that the Northern Bank's Belfast base will become the primary head office for Danske's operations on the island.

Danske Bank acquired National Irish Bank and Northern Bank in 2004 for €1.4bn, but its experience in the Republic of Ireland since the downturn has been woeful, as it has with other financial institutions.

Northern Bank is believed to have weathered the financial crisis in much better shape.

In the first half of this year, NIB recorded a €401m loss and made a further €391m provision for loan impairment charges.

That impairment charge was down from the €401m it set aside in the first half of 2011.

Its total loan book here totalled €8.3bn at the end of the first half, down 9pc on the corresponding period last year.

Its chief executive, Andrew Healy, stepped down earlier this year as Danske moved to rebrand the Irish operations.

Irish Independent