Financial Services Union calls on Minister Donohoe to raise Ulster Bank vulture fund issue with UK chancellor

Issued : 4 December 2020

Call receives support from figures across the political spectrum

The time has come for Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to raise concerns about the potential sale of the Ulster Bank loan book to a vulture fund with the UK chancellor. That’s according to general secretary of the Financial Services Union, John O’Connell.

Speculation on the future of Ulster Bank has led to media reports that NatWest, parent company of Ulster Bank, is in discussion with Cerberus to buy its loan book, which is estimated at €20.5 billion euro.

Commenting, Mr O’Connell said:  “This speculation has been running on for a couple of months  and a clear statement of intent from the Minister for Finance is required, stating that he is willing to contact the chancellor and outline the Government’s opposition to any vulture fund buying any part of Ulster Bank.

“The UK government has a considerable ownership stake in the bank and the Irish Government should be using every lever at its disposal to ensure that jobs are protected, branches remain open, and there is sufficient competition in the market place.

“I ask the Minister for Finance to contact his counterpart in the UK government and to outline in clear terms the Irish Government’s opposition to NatWest selling any part of the Ulster Bank loan book to a vulture fund.  NatWest needs to end the speculation and commit to the future of Ulster Bank.”

The FSU has received support from across the political spectrum for this call, including from Pearse Doherty TD (SF); Ged Nash TD (Lab); Catherine Murphy TD (Social Democrats) Richard Boyd Barrett TD (Solidarity / PBP); Sean Canney TD (Ind), and Joan Collins TD (Independents 4 Change), as well as from Government TDs Brendan Smith TD (FF) and Neasa Hourigan TD (Green Party).

Campaigner David Hall, chief executive of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, is also supporting the call.

Commenting, he said: “I wholeheartedly support the FSU’s call on the Minister to intervene to prevent any sale of Ulster Bank’s loan book to a vulture fund. These funds do not care about people, so it is vital for mortgage-holders, for communities and for the economy that Ulster Bank’s loan book is not sold to a vulture fund.”

ENDS

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

Notes to editors:

  • John O’Connell and David Hall are available for interview, on request.
  • About the Save our Ulster Bank campaign: As part of its campaign, the FSU has also led the creation of a broad coalition of interested groups covering business, farming and communities, calling on NatWest to commit to the future of Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland and to bring an end to doubt and speculation for staff and customers of the bank. To date, signatories include the Irish Congress of Trade Unions; the Irish Farmers’ Association; Mandate Trade Union; Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, and Unite the Union, as well as a range of politicians. Visit the FSU website for further details.

 

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.