Video: AIB gets green light to buy Ulster Bank loans, Ukrainian refugees arrive at Dublin centre

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Banks

AIB has entered into exclusive discussions with NatWest Group for the acquisition of about €6 billion of Ulster Bank performing tracker and linked mortgages.

The news came after the bank received a receipt of clearance on Thursday from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) for the acquisition of €3.7 billion Ulster Bank performing corporate and commercial loans.

Meanwhile, KBC has announced it is to extend the notice period for customers to close their current accounts to six months as the bank seeks to exit the Irish market. Previously, KBC said it would give customers 90 days to switch.

Ukraine

Eighty Ukrainian refugees have arrived at a new “temporary rest centre” in Ballyogan, south Dublin.

The large building owned by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on Ballyogan Road is to be the main hub for displaced Ukrainian nationals in the east of Ireland and is expected to provide short-term respite for 300 residents, before they are allocated longer-term accommodation elsewhere.

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Speaking at the opening of the centre on Thursday, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown chair, Councillor Lettie McCarthy said she was "satisfied by the breadth of services available".

Mortgages

The average home purchase mortgage for first-time buyers has increased by €20,000 over the past year and now stands at €250,137, according to new figures from the banking industry.

It is the second-highest level ever recorded and just €1,700 less than the peak in the first quarter of 2008.

The latest report from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said there was solid growth in mortgage activity in the first three months of 2021, driven mainly by first-time buyers and re-mortgaging/switching.

Garda recruitment

More people from ethnic minority backgrounds are applying to work as gardaí, figures for the most recent garda recruitment campaign indicate.

People describing themselves as “White Irish” accounted for 77 per cent of applications, down from 88 per cent in the last garda recruitment campaign in 2019.

Those who describe themselves as “Asian/Asian Irish” or “Black/Black Irish” made up 5 per cent of applications this time around, compared to 2 per cent in 2019.

Overall, more than 11,000 applications were made during the latest recruitment drive, which closed in mid-March, with 800 new recruits due to join the force as part of the intake.

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