Financial Services Union hold 'positive' meeting with Donohoe over Ulster Bank

ireland
Financial Services Union Hold 'Positive' Meeting With Donohoe Over Ulster Bank Financial Services Union Hold 'Positive' Meeting With Donohoe Over Ulster Bank
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James Cox

The Financial Services Union has described as 'constructive' a meeting today with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to discuss the issue of the exit of Ulster Bank from the Republic of Ireland.

Commenting following the meeting, general secretary of the FSU, John O’Connell said: “I welcome the meeting today and the Minister’s commitment to continued dialogue with the FSU. I would contrast that directly with the silence over the last six months from NatWest. The meeting was constructive, with issues of job certainty for staff; the option for staff to transfer with their work; the terms and conditions of staff, and the retention of the Branch structure among matters discussed.

“The exit of Ulster Bank from the Republic of Ireland is a significant blow to staff and customers. They deserve clarity from Ulster Bank on its intentions. The Bank has stated in the Memorandum of Understanding with AIB that staff will have the option of moving with their work: we need a clear statement from the Bank that this option will be available to all staff in any future sale / acquisition of the Ulster Bank loan book.

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“We reiterated our view to the Minister that the retention of the branch network should not be forgotten. The local branch is an integral part of communities across the country. The FSU is calling for a moratorium on branch closures for the rest of this year to give reassurance to customers that this vital community link is not broken, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.”

Unwelcome news

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has described the withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Republic as “very unwelcome news”, but that it was a commercial decision.

The Government would try to work with the bank about the future of its staff and customers, he told RTÉ radio’s News at One.

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Mr Varadkar said he wanted to reassure customers that when it came to mortgages, personal loans and business loans their terms and conditions could not be changed.

“So if you're meeting your repayments those terms and conditions cannot be changed,” he said.
Ulster Bank’s withdrawal was going to be gradual and there would be no compulsory redundancies and no branch closures this year, he added.

When asked if the necessity for banks to have large cash reserves was a deterrent for new banks to come into the country,  Mr Varadkar said: “new banks don't particularly want to set up in Ireland at the moment because they have to hold a lot of capital if they do so.”

In terms of competition in the banking sector the news about Ulster Bank was not a good development, he said.

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