Statement – Central Bank of Ireland

19 February 2021 Press Release

Central Bank of Ireland

Response to the Ulster Bank Withdrawal Announcement

The Central Bank notes the announcement by the Natwest Group that it has decided that Ulster Bank Ireland DAC will withdraw from the Irish banking market. The Central Bank understands that this will be a cause of concern for Ulster Bank’s staff and customers.

Ulster Bank customers do not need to take any immediate action. There are no changes to their regulatory protections, nor the services that Ulster Bank is providing today. The announced withdrawal will happen over a number of years.

The Central Bank’s focus is to serve the public interest by safeguarding monetary and financial stability and ensure that the financial system operates in the best interests of consumers and the wider economy.

While decisions related to the strategic direction and business model of regulated firms are for the boards of those firms, they are obliged to consider all of the relevant risks and to ensure compliance with applicable regulatory requirements at all times.

The Central Bank’s supervision of Ulster Bank as it withdraws from the market will be focused on ensuring that its customers are treated fairly, and remains in compliance with the letter and spirit of regulatory requirements. The Central Bank has made clear to the management of Ulster Bank that it expects a customer-focused approach to be taken in all aspects of its business throughout the period of change and that it ensures that customers understand what this morning’s announcement means for them.

The Central Bank notes that the Natwest Group / Ulster Bank have announced that they are in discussions with AIB and Permanent TSB and other strategic banking counterparties regarding sales of parts of the Ulster Bank business.

Protections in place for consumers

Provision 3.11 of the Consumer Protection Code 2012 requires that a regulated entity that intends to cease operating, merge with another, or to transfer all or part of its regulated activities to another regulated entity must:

  • provide affected consumers with at least two months’ notice to enable them to make alternative arrangements if they so wish;
  • ensure all outstanding business is properly completed prior to any transfer, merger or cessation of operations; or, in the case of a transfer or merger, inform customers as to how continuity of service will be provided following a transfer or merger; and
  • in the case of a merger or transfer of regulated activities, inform customers that their details are being transferred to the other regulated entity, if that is the case.

In relation to loans, where they are sold or transferred to another regulated entity, the consumer protections in place for borrowers will not change. The protections that were available to borrowers prior to the transaction continue to be in place with the new loan owner.

Ulster Bank has a Frequently Asked Questions section at and a helpline on 1850 211 461, for customers who have further queries.

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