Proposed Restructure of Lombard Asset Finance Opposed by Financial Services Union.
Issued : 14 June 2018
The Financial Services Union opposes plans by Lombard Asset Finance to radically reduce its staffing and on-the-ground presence in Northern Ireland.
In 2016 & 2017 combined Lombard Asset Finance provided approximately £100m in credit to the Northern Irish economy. The company has a particularly strong presence in the agricultural and agribusiness sector.
At present a team of seven (five sales roles and two support staff) delivers the business in Northern Ireland. Now Lombard is seeking to slash that number to just two staff, with a substantial amount of work transferring out of Northern Ireland to a call centre based in England.
The Financial Services Union is campaigning against this proposal, which will impact negatively on staff, customers and the wider Northern Ireland economy. The Union is supported by parties across the political spectrum in Northern Ireland, many of whom are contacting Lombard, Ulster Bank and RBS (which ultimately owns Lombard Asset Finance) seeking changes to the proposals.
According to FSU senior official Gareth Murphy, “This proposal completely flies in the face of the RBS rhetoric of seeking to be number one for customer service, trust and advocacy. Leaving just two staff to manage relationships and support borrowers across all of Northern Ireland is simply not good enough for customers and communities. Under the proposal borrowers under a certain exposure limit will not have access to face-to-face advice and support. This business will be dealt with through a call centre in England.
“The five staff affected, and their families, are obviously devastated. They are doing their best to find other opportunities but it’s simply not a fair or reasonable proposal from Lombard and its RBS parent. It is also going to leave two staff in a very vulnerable situation servicing such a large geographic area. We have called on the employer to review their proposals and retain at least two additional staff. We welcome the support we’ve received and would urge Lombard and RBS to listen to the views of customers and other stakeholders.”