Natwest to quit Ireland after more than 100 years in second major shake-up under Alison Rose
Natwest is preparing to pull out of the Republic of Ireland after more than 100 years in the country in the second major shake-up under Alison Rose.
The banking group, formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), operates under the Ulster Bank brand in Ireland where it is the third-largest lender.
But it is planning to sell its operations there, according to the Financial Times, as it focuses its efforts on the UK. It will keep using the Ulster Bank banner in Northern Ireland.
Natwest, formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland, operates under the Ulster Bank brand in Ireland where it is the third-largest lender
The move comes just a year after Rose, who took over as chief executive in 2019, announced plans to slash Natwest’s beleaguered investment bank and ditched the RBS name.
The shift may worry Natwest’s customers in the Republic of Ireland, as they await to see who will buy the bank’s sizeable loan book.
Last year it denied it was in talks with Cerberus Capital Management, an investment group branded a ‘hound of hell’ by MPs, which has become infamous for snapping up loans and squeezing borrowers to force repayments.
Irish politicians are putting pressure on Natwest to sell the loans to active lenders, to maintain competition and avoid the fate which has befallen some so-called mortgage prisoners in the UK.
Bank customers were locked into costly mortgages, unable to swap to a cheaper alternative, after their debt was sold to New York-based Cerberus – which is not licensed as a bank and so cannot offer new loans.
A spokesman for Natwest, which is due to release its full-year results today, said: ‘We continue to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 and the challenges to the economy and we are reviewing our strategy appropriately and responsibly in light of these events.’