Sunday 18 February 2018

BoI set to close its Isle of Man operations

Tom Gilmartin
Tom Gilmartin
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

BANK of Ireland is set to shutter its offshore banking operations in the Isle of Man following a strategic review. Bank of Ireland had used the Isle of Man as a deposit gathering operation in offshore savings.

The bank's Isle of Man operations had featured prominently in tribunals, with the late Tom Gilmartin, pictured right, claiming to have been asked to lodge £5m into an account in the overseas branch following a meeting with Liam Lawlor over the planned Quarryvale Shopping centre.

Former CRH chairman and Ansbacher name Des Traynor also held funds with Bank of Ireland in the Isle of Man.

"Following a strategic review of its businesses, the Bank of Ireland Group ('the Group') has taken the decision to cease all operations through its subsidiary, BOI IOM," according to the Bank.

Industry wide demand for offshore banking has weakened.

"It is envisaged that BOI IOM will surrender its Banking Licence on 30 May, 2014, and the remaining operations in respect of the Company will cease by 31 August, 2014."

The bank has stopped taking new deposits and is in wind-down mode.

Other Irish banks, including AIB, Anglo and Nationwide, have all exited the market, with Anglo selling its deposit book to AIB during the financial crisis.

The Irish banks desperately tried to hoover up deposits during the financial crash by offering the highest rates on the market to attract new business.

The departure from the Isle of Man comes at the tail end of Bank of Ireland's deleveraging process as it tries to repair its balance sheet, which has been smashed by bad property loans.

This has seen Richie Boucher's bank mothball or sell a number of divisions, including the disposal of its US subsidiary, Burdale, to US bank Wells Fargo for €690m in late 2012.

The Bank was successful in persuading regulators that it should not be forced to sell its stake in the New Ireland insurance business.

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