Sunday 25 February 2018

Ulster promotional campaign to dampen fears of a 'pull out'

Laura Noonan

ULSTER Bank will today unveil a major campaign to promote its business banking amid fears that "scaremongering" is leading companies to believe the institution is about to pull out of Ireland.

The move comes almost a month after Bank of Scotland (Ireland) announced its full withdrawal from the Irish market, jettisoning tens of thousands of customers.

"What we're doing here clarifies Ulster Bank's commitment to the market," said Declan Fitzgerald, managing director of Ulster's Business Banking unit.

Ulster Bank's campaign includes several "service commitments", but while AIB and Bank of Ireland have promised to lend €12bn to SMEs in the next two years, Ulster is making no similar promises.

"As soon as you come out and say you're going to lend X billion, people come back and say they don't believe you," said Mr Fitzgerald. "We expect to lend about €1bn next year, if we lent €1.5bn or €2bn we'd be delighted."

Ulster's service commitments include waiving transactional fees for start-up businesses and promising to keep working capital arrangements unchanged for companies that don't breach their lending terms.

The bank is also setting up its own internal version of the Credit Review Office, which acts as an appeals body for business lending decisions.

Irish Independent

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