Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told the Financial Services Union he had no formal authority to prevent the potential sale of Ulster Bank’s loan portfolio in the Republic.
In a meeting with the union on Monday, which both sides described as productive, Mr Donohoe reportedly told union officials that he had no formal role in Ulster Bank or NatWest business decisions and that all decisions were made by the board of directors and management of the bank and its parent company.
NatWest is reportedly considering selling Ulster Bank’s € 20.5 billion loan portfolio in the Republic to US debt firm Cerberus. The move could result in the end of Ulster Bank operations here with the potential loss of 2,700 employees and the closure of its 88 branches.
Mr Donohoe told the union he held talks with representatives from Ulster Bank in October and expected staff to be consulted and kept informed of developments.
The potential sale of the Bank of Ireland unit in Northern Ireland, AIB job losses and an overhaul of the consumer protection code were also reportedly discussed at the meeting.
The union welcomed the Minister’s continued commitment to the discussions.
The banking sector is facing an uncertain period here with loan losses linked to the Covid-19 pandemic expected to accelerate, Brexit and the current environment of low interest rates.