Business Irish

Monday 19 February 2018

Ulster Bank could be sold by parent RBS, decision as early as new year

Ulster Bank headquarters
Ulster Bank headquarters
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Britain's RBS is to reconsider a sale of Ulster Bank in the Republic.

The UK taxpayer controlled bank  will revisit the issue of whether to sell the Irish unit as early as next year, according to a report by Bloomberg, quoting an unnamed source.

The review will examine the Irish consumer business, which has been split out from Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland this year.

However, a spokeswoman for RBS said the strategy for Ulster Bank “remains unchanged.”

In 2014 RBS ditched plans to sell all or part of Ulster Bank following a lengthy review. But a decision was taken to integrate its Northern Ireland business into RBS in the UK, and operate the bank's division in the Republic on a stand alone basis.

RBS had decided to keep Ulster Bank partly because of the complexity and cost of separating the business from the rest of the group, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

McEwan said in September that Ulster Bank still has “unacceptably high” costs but is showing “positive signs.”

“We decided following an extensive strategic review last year that” Ulster Bank “was a core part of RBS and we are now pushing ahead with our strategy to create a strong challenger bank focused on our customers” in the Republic of Ireland, Harper said.

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