Threat of closure or carve-up of Ulster Bank is growing

Issued : 5 February 2021

Threat of closure or carve-up of Ulster Bank is growing – Financial Services Union

Union queries and criticises use of non-disclosure agreements in the process

The General Secretary of the Financial Services Union, John O’Connell, has described today’s (04.02.21) meeting with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ulster Bank, Jane Howard, as difficult and deeply troubling.

Mr O’Connell commented: “The meeting today provided no reassurance for staff or for customers of Ulster Bank. The CEO refused to answer any questions about the strategic review or to adequately respond to recent media reports about possible talks between NatWest and PTSB. The Union left the CEO under no doubt as to the level of anxiety and stress that bank staff are under.

“The situation is now very serious. The threat of a closure or carve-up of the bank is growing, and this will seriously impact communities, customers, staff, and businesses all over Ireland. The manner in which people have been treated here is totally unacceptable. This union will not stand by while loyal staff are treated so poorly. Their loyalty, commitment and well-being need to be central to the review process.

He added: “Staff are being asked to undertake work in respect of the process that could enable the sale or carve-up of Ulster Bank and the bank is asking them to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), so they cannot discuss it. This is adding to the intolerable strain on staff and cannot be allowed to continue.

“The FSU clearly stated in the meeting that a carve up of the bank’s assets is not an acceptable outcome and under no circumstances should a vulture fund be able to get its hands on any part of the loan book. If NatWest decides to exit the Irish market, any solution needs to involve the maximum protection for customers, for jobs and the branch structure.

“There is lot going on at the moment, we understand that, but this issue cannot be allowed to slip under the radar. A decision is coming, and it is coming fast – action is therefore needed now. We are calling on the Minister for Finance and the Central Bank of Ireland to make urgent statements about the situation.”


Contact: Brian McDowell, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, FSU. Tel: 087-9161225. Email: [email protected].

Notes to editors:

  • John O’Connell is available for interview, on request.


About FSU: The FSU is Ireland’s leading union across banking and finance. We represent thousands of staff across the main retail banks, and we have members in more than 70 companies across the finance and fintech sectors. Our members are spread across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Great Britain. We are headquartered in Dublin and we also have a presence in Belfast. We are members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and UNI Global finance union.