December 17, 2021
Pearse Doherty TD responds to Permanent TSB agreement to acquire significant portion of Ulster Bank

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has responded to the agreement signed between Permanent TSB and NatWest, which would see PTSB acquiring €7.6 billion of assets from Ulster Bank, including 25 of its branches and the transfer of approximately 450 employees.

The Donegal TD has welcomed the additional scale this will provide Permanent TSB in providing greater competition in a sector that would otherwise have become more concentrated, but raised concerns regarding the timeline of completion of the deal and the outsourcing of mortgage servicing to Pepper Finance.

Teachta Doherty said:

“The announcement of Ulster Bank’s exit from the market was a hammer blow for workers, customers and the banking sector.

“Today’s announcement that a binding agreement has been signed between Permanent TSB and NatWest for the acquisition of €7.6 billion of assets from Ulster Bank is a welcome development.

“The deal will provide Permanent TSB with additional scale, supporting competition in what would otherwise have been a duopoly in the market between AIB and Bank of Ireland.

“Such a scenario would have applied upward pressure on interest rates and reduced credit availability for consumers.

“Sinn Féin have called for a third force in the Irish banking sector to counter these risks – today’s announcement creates an opportunity for PTSB to do so.

“There are also questions raised by today’s announcement.

“While welcoming the acquisition of 25 branches as part of the agreement, the closure of the 63 other branches remains a blow to the communities in which they operate.

“The proposed outsourcing of operations to service the residential mortgage loan book to Pepper Finance is unexpected, and its rationale and impact on staff and customers must be explained by PTSB with a statement from the Minister for Finance, whose approval is acquired.

“Sinn Féin also has concerns regarding the pace of this transaction and its conclusion.

“With two banks withdrawing from the market, the transfer of staff, customers, deposits and assets should take place in an orderly manner.

“It is unclear if this can be achieved in the timeline proposed, and if the staffing levels exist to adequately support this change for customers in such a short space of time.

“It is crucial that the regulator takes all steps to ensure adequate support for customers of Permanent TSB throughout this process. That includes examining the timeline in which this process is concluded.”

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