Thursday 14 December 2017

AIB union not yet told job loss target at bad loans wing

Bank’s bad debt division has 1,600 staff assigned to it
Bank’s bad debt division has 1,600 staff assigned to it
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) has not yet told union chiefs how many redundancies it is targeting at its bad loans division.

The State-owned lender is offering a voluntary redundancy scheme at its Financial Solutions Group (FSG), which was established to restructure the bad debts of customers.

Bank management briefed representatives of the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) late last week on the plans for the division, which has about 1,600 staff assigned to it. An IBOA spokesman said management claimed the FSG division "does have a future".

"We can interpret that to mean that FSG isn't going to be closed down any time soon, but they are maybe trying to taper it down," the spokesman said.

"We don't have any clear indication as to what the timespan might be, what the eventual number in the back of their heads they might have.

"They may not be too clear at this point. It is almost the case that they are anticipating that this is likely to happen in some stage in the future, and to put it out there at the moment to see what level of interest is there."

AIB said the FSG division had not been in a position to take part in the redundancy scheme already established within the bank for other divisions given its importance. "FSG has however made very significant progress in the past 12 months in addressing this priority as is evidenced by the significant decrease of the arrears profile of AIB and material reduction in non-performing loans as reported by the bank," a spokeswoman said.

"This has allowed FSG to offer voluntary severance on the same terms as been offered to other areas of AIB to date."

Since June 2012, 3,220 staff at the bailed-out bank have left, including through early retirement and voluntary redundancy.

The IBOA has also been demanding pay rises for members after the bank returned to profit.

Management has said it will wait until capital has been returned to the State, probably later this year, before boosting wages.

In March, AIB announced a pre-tax profit of €1.1bn, its first full year profit since 2008. This compares with a loss of €1.7bn in 2013.

The bank announced €13.2bn in lending approvals for 2014, a 37pc increase on 2013 while impaired loans decreased by 23pc since December 2013.

The number of accounts in arrears in the Irish owner occupier mortgage portfolio declined by 22pc.

AIB will hold its annual general meeting this morning.

Irish Independent

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