Bank of Ireland bosses went to Stormont today to be pressed not to turn off the flow of money to its customers in the North.
The First and Deputy First Ministers had talks with the bank chief executive in the North, Stephen Kirkpatrick, and chief executive of UK financial services Des Crowley, during which they pressed them to continue lending to both business and mortgage seekers.
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness said they were able to convey first hand the difficulties local business and households were facing dealing with banks in the current economic climate.
Mr Robinson said: “We are concerned that the supply of credit and finance should continue to be made available to business and households so we very much welcome the opportunity to speak with Mr Crowley and Mr Kirkpatrick to find out how the Bank of Ireland has been approaching its lending policy in Northern Ireland in light of developments for the group as a whole from the recapitalisation measures in the Republic of Ireland.”
“We very much hope there will be no retrenchment in the bank’s position and that it will continue to offer credit to its customer base in Northern Ireland.”
Mr McGuinness aid they were anxious for the bank to continue this year with a small firms business loan product which they launched last April and with mortgage lending.
He added: “We are keen to find out whether the Bank of Ireland is taking or going to take advantage of some of the measures on offer, such as European Investment Bank Loans, UK loan guarantee schemes for business and mortgage deferment schemes, to expand lending to business and prevent mortgage repossession for households not only in the south but for its customers in the North also.”