Ulster Bank closes to new business customers as market exit gains ground

The closure of the bank's business products to new customers comes into effect from today, July 30. 
Ulster Bank closes to new business customers as market exit gains ground

Ulster Bank announced an exit from the Irish market in February after a strategic review.  Picture: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

Ulster Bank is no longer taking on new business customers as part of its phased withdrawal from the Irish market first announced in February of this year. 

The announcement comes as the bank reported an operating loss of €7m for the first half of the year-a significant fall from €276m at the same time last year. 

Announced after a strategic review, the phased withdrawal is stepping up with the news business banking will be closed to new customers with the exception of the lender's Lombard Asset Finance company.

Existing business customers remain unaffected for now with products and services unchanged as well as clients who are in the process of applying for one of the bank's services. 

The closure of the bank's business products to new customers comes into effect from today, July 30. 

In addition, Ulster Bank's will no longer be offering new services to personal banking customers from October 29, with the exception of new mortgage lending which will remain available for existing customers after that date. 

Exceptions for applicants who wish to borrow outside of strict Central Bank lending rules with Ulster Bank will no longer be made from August, 4. 

Overdrafts and credit card limit changes for existing customers will also remain in a limited capacity while home and car insurance renewal quotes will be handled as normal. 

Ulster Bank is to write to its customers today explaining the changes as the bank continues its withdrawal from the Irish market. 

"Today is another significant milestone and an expected step in the progress of our phased withdrawal," said Ulster Bank Chief Executive Jane Howard. 

"Our colleagues will continue to serve our customers throughout this phase and beyond, including those customers who need more support due to the nature of the product e.g. self-build mortgage customers who draw down in stages according to their build.

"We are writing to all existing personal customers to give them the details of this change and to give them 60 days advance notice to ensure that they have ample time to consider their needs,” she said. 

The latest change to trading from Ulster Bank follows an announcement from Permanent TSB setting out further details of their agreement to take €7.6bn in mortgage and other loans, along with 25 of its 88 branches, from the NatWest-owned bank as it exits the Irish market. 

Under the agreement, NatWest also plans to buy a stake of up to 20% in Permanent TSB

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