FEARS of job losses are mounting at Ulster Bank after newcomer chief executive Jim Brown announced a fresh cost review and plans to "centralise" some of the bank's key functions.
The plans were laid before Ulster's leadership team at a Belfast meeting on September 6 and were outlined to the trade union, the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA), at a separate meeting.
In a note issued to members, IBOA chief Larry Broderick said Ulster was pursuing a "new operating model focusing on key customers" that would involve "centralisation of functions" and a "restructure".
The union boss added Ulster was "considering a number of initiatives to support the new operating model", such as moving a number of areas, including project management and telephony, into Ulster's retail section.
Mr Broderick stressed the bank's proposals were "very generic and lack specific clarity on a number of areas, particularly as they impact on jobs, terms and conditions of employment and other elements related to the staff agenda".
A spokesperson for the bank yesterday said it was "too early to say" what impact the cost- cutting measures would have on Ulster's headcount, adding the bank will "continue to communicate directly with staff".
Ulster has a a workforce of 6,000. The cost-cutting efforts come after the bank racked up losses of almost £1bn (€1.14bn) in its 'non-core' division for the first half of this year, and losses of £189m in its 'core' unit.