Ulster Bank urges customers to get ready for changes
Ulster Bank is encouraging customers to get ready for changes coming next year as part of the bank’s withdrawal from the Irish market, which was first announced in February.
But the bank said it is continuing to serve its existing customers, so no action is required by them yet.
Ulster Bank said it will contact customers directly when they need to take action, adding that this will start early next year when it plans to begin to serve formal account closure notice to current account and deposit account customers.
In advance of this, the lender is urging customers to consider their options, avail of supports and get ready to choose a new banking provider, especially for current and deposit accounts.
“Over the coming months we will engage with customers, including those who might need more support, to help them to get ready to choose a new provider, with a view to move and close their accounts,” the bank said.
“However, if customers are ready now, we are encouraging them to review their Ulster Bank accounts or make an appointment to review their Ulster Bank accounts.
“Ulster Bank reassures customers that they are not obliged to take any action right now and more details will follow in early 2022,” it added.
Ulster Bank said it will stop accepting new applications from new and existing personal banking customers at close of business today, apart from mortgages which will remain available for existing customers only.
For business customers, products and services remain available but for existing customers only. The exception to this is Lombard Asset Finance, which remains open for new and existing customers.
Ulster Bank said it will not close any of its 88 branches around the country this year, adding that it does not anticipate closing any branches in the first half of next year.
But as previously announced, the bank will begin to phase out traditional counter/ cash services in the second half of 2022 to concentrate on in-person support for customers to move bank and to close accounts.
Ulster Bank chief executive Jane Howard said it was committed to giving customers up to six months’ notice to facilitate key changes for them and in this context, and said today they are signposting the expected timelines for current and deposit account customers to choose a new bank, move and close their accounts with Ulster Bank.
“While customers do not need to take action at this time, we know that some customers will want to get ready to start this process now and we will facilitate this for any customer who needs it. We want to encourage customers to spend some time thinking about the best options for them and we wish to support them on this journey as much as possible,” Jane Howard said.
“While right now, customers may not have noticed many changes, we expect this to change over the coming months, and we will continue to update and signpost changes for customers and colleagues including on other products and services which are not covered by today’s announcement,” she added.
Meanwhile, Ulster Bank has today reported an operating profit of €46m for the third quarter of this year compared to a profit of €1m the same time last year. Total income for the third quarter rose by 17.9% to €171m from €145m last year.
The bank said it continues to make progress in talks with AIB and Permanent TSB about the sale of performing loan portfolios and associated undrawn exposures, its asset finance business and 25 branches.
Net loans to customers decreased by €4.1 billion, or 21.1%, compared with the second quarter of the year, it added.