What the Ulster Bank closure means for you

Ulster Bank has announced plans to wind down its business in Ireland and close branches over the coming years. Here’s what the Ulster Bank announcement means for you.

What’s been announced?

In February 2021 Ulster Bank announced a phased withdrawal of all its banking activity and financial services within the Republic of Ireland.

This means that, after trading since 1836, Ulster Bank will eventually close its doors to all Irish customers over the next few years.

Ulster Bank expects to cease transactions with customers by the end of March 2023 and is now writing to customers asking them to close their accounts.

How does this affect you?

Ulster Bank will notify you of any changes to your accounts and products and any action you need to take when necessary.

If you get a letter from Ulster Bank asking you to close your account you’ll have six months to switch or close your bank account.

If you don’t close your account within the six-month time frame, Ulster Bank will close your account and issue a cheque for any remaining sum.

If you have already made an application to Ulster Bank they will continue to support you throughout the process of your application until its conclusion.

Why is Ulster Bank closing?

The announcement on 23 July 2021, confirmed Ulster Bank and its parent NatWest Group have agreed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Permanent TSB Group, relating to the sale of:

  • performing loans relating to non-tracker mortgages.
  • performing loans and overdrafts in their micro-SME business
  • Ulster Bank’s Lombard Asset Finance business, including the Lombard digital platform
  • a subset of Ulster Bank branch locations

The proposed sale includes around €7.6bn gross performing loans, mainly relating to non-tracker mortgages, and Permanent TSB Group is in line to acquire 25 of Ulster Bank’s 88 branches.

Not all customers and products are covered by this MOU, for example, performing tracker mortgages. They are working on a similar solution for you and will update you as soon as possible.

Which Ulster Bank branches are closing?

Eventually, all of the remaining Ulster Bank branches in Ireland will close, but this won’t happen yet. For the time being Ulster Bank branches remain open and will continue to do so throughout 2022.

Permanent TSB Group are in negotiations about acquiring 25 of the 88 branches, but it’s not yet been confirmed which branches this relates to.

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.

Do you need to do anything?

Mortgage holders

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 an approval in principle in place or are waiting to draw down your mortgage funds.

What if you have an Approval in Principle from Ulster Bank?

If you have an Approval in Principle in place before the 29th of April 2022, this will be valid for the validity period on your Approval in Principle letter.

Existing Ulster Bank customers who want to make a mortgage application can continue to apply for a mortgage loan up to the close of business on 10th June 2022.

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 note that this type of mortgage is no longer widely available to new customers, so speak to an adviser at Ulster Bank. You can get the latest information about the closure on the Ulster Bank website.

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.

All of your mortgage related questions should be covered in their FAQ support section.

See our lowest rate mortgages

Current account holders

If you have a current account with Ulster Bank you can continue to use it as normal until you get a letter requesting that you close it. You’ll have six months to do so from the time of the letter.

Your existing bank arrangements, including Direct Debits, standing orders and other regular payment agreements are unaffected by the Ulster Bank announcement.

You will be contacted in plenty of time and given the support you need to move banks or close your account.

See the best current accounts

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.

A legally binding agreement has been agreed with Allied Irish Banks (AIB), on 28 June 2021, for the sale of a €4.2bn portfolio of performing loan products (and up to €2.8bn of undrawn exposures) from the Commercial Banking Division. All the necessary regulatory approvals are likely to take a number of months.

If this affects you, you’ll be contacted in plenty of time with the action you need to take, or you can visit their business support FAQ page for further information.

Ulster Bank FAQs

Are Ulster Bank branches still open?

Yes, but because they are closing, they are offering fewer services. There will be a

  • reduced branch counter service
  • no foreign exchange services
  • no Night Safe services
  • Fewer Ulster Bank ATMs

Do I need to carry on paying my Ulster Bank loan?

Yes, you’ll still need to continue making any loan payments.

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, this announcement does not affect the Northern Ireland part of the business and will continue to trade as normal.

Mortgage lenders in Ireland

View all
Warning: If you do not keep up your repayments you may lose your home. Warning: The cost of your monthly repayments may increase. Warning: You may have to pay charges if you pay off a fixed rate loan early. Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears. This may affect your credit rating, which may limit your ability to access credit in the future. Warning: The entire amount that you have borrowed will still be outstanding at the end of the interest-only period. The payment rates on this housing loan may be adjusted by the lender from time to time. (applies to variable rate loans only) Information provided and Interest rates quoted valid at 21/09/2022