What’s been announced?
After what’s described as an ‘extensive review’ NatWest which owns Ulster Bank has decided to withdraw all of its banking activity from the Republic of Ireland over the next few years.
Details are still being finalised, but this means that Ulster Bank will eventually close its doors to all Irish customers after trading since 1836.
Which Ulster Bank branches are closing?
Eventually all of the remaining Ulster Bank branches in Ireland will close, but this won’t happen for a little while.
For the time being Ulster Bank branches remain open and will continue to do so for the rest of 2021.
What will happen to your Ulster Bank account?
There is no immediate change to how your account with Ulster Bank will be operated, you can continue to use it without any change.
What happens over the next few years will depend on the type of account you have with UIster Bank and what agreements it makes with other Irish banks to take over their business.
Ulster Bank is already in discussion with Allied Irish Bank regarding the sale of its commercial loan book and Permanent TSB about other areas of the business.
Do you need to do anything?
If you have an Ulster Bank mortgage you don’t need to make any changes for the time being, you should continue to pay your mortgage as normal.
If you have applied for a mortgage with Ulster Bank your application should be able to progress as normal, including if you have a approval in principle in place or are waiting to drawdown your mortgage funds.
Should you switch elsewhere?
This depends on your circumstances:
- If your existing mortgage rate deal has finished and you’ve moved onto the Ulster Bank standard variable rate you should consider switching your mortgage to save money.
- If you’re tied into a fixed rate mortgage you’ll probably have to pay an early repayment charge to allow you to switch to a different mortgage lender. This could make it too expensive meaning you’re better off waiting for the time being.
- If you have a tracker mortgage with Ulster Bank then you should be especially careful. This type of mortgage is no longer widely available to new customers, so if you want to keep your tracker you might need to hold off moving elsewhere.
Ulster Bank has confirmed that if it sells its mortgage loan book to another lender it will honour its customers existing terms, including mortgage rates and terms.
If you’re not sure whether to change your mortgage it could be worth speaking to a broker to get independent advice based on your circumstances.
Current account holders
If you have a current account with Ulster Bank you can continue to use it as normal at least for the time being.
Your existing bank arrangements, including Direct Debits, standing orders and other regular payment agreements are unaffected by the Ulster Bank announcement.
However, while there is no immediate rush, it’s likely you’ll need to look elsewhere for a new current account to replace your Ulster Bank account at some point.
Credit card holders
If you have an Ulster Bank credit card you can continue to use it as normal.
You should also continue to make at least the minimum payment every month on time, even though these cards will be withdrawn at some point you’ll still need to pay back everything you owe.
Savings account holders
Savings accounts held by Ulster Bank are unaffected and you’ll continue to be paid any interest you earn on your savings.
What about Ulster Bank insurance policies?
Ulster Bank currently offers a range of insurance policies including:
- Car insurance which is underwritten by Aviva
- Home insurance which is underwritten by Aviva
- Life insurance which is underwritten by Irish Life Assurance plc
All of these policy terms should continue to be honoured by the company underwriting them.
What about business customers?
Ulster Bank is withdrawing all “its banking activity and associated services” so business customers will also be affected by this decision.
At the moment we’re still waiting details on what Ulster Bank will do with any business accounts, but not account closures are expected in 2021.
What does this mean for staff at Ulster Bank?
Ulster Bank has confirmed that there will be no compulsory redundancies for staff in 2021, but this is still a worrying time for those who work at the bank.
Ulster Bank will begin talks with employee representatives in the coming weeks and they hope to save some jobs through the sale of parts of their business to other Irish banks.
If you’re affected by the Ulster Bank announcement, you can find out more about your rights by reading our guide to your redundancy rights.
Ulster Bank FAQs
Can I open a new account with Ulster Bank?
Yes, for the time being, Ulster Bank are still open to new customers.
Do I need to carry on paying my Ulster Bank loan?
Yes, you’ll still need to continue to make any payments on your loan.
It’s likely that Ulster Bank will sell its loans to another bank at some point and you will then owe the balance to them.
Will Ulster Bank branches in Northern Ireland close?
No, the Northern Ireland part of the business is not affected by this announcement and will continue to trade as normal.