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Ulster Bank will no longer be in the Irish financial market

DUBLIN: The withdrawal of Ulster Bank, which has been on the Irish market for more than 160 years, has recently been officially confirmed. Customers will get a notification two months before the bank closes. If the account is not closed at that time, the money will be sent on in a cheque.

The bank currently has 1.1 million Irish customers, and this is a very worrying time for them. Current account holders, mortgage holders and bank lenders are all now looking at their options. Various industry experts have come forward with expert advice to help them. Experts say current account holders at Ulster Bank are completely safe and do not need a hasty decision.

Eoin Clarke, managing director of Switcher.ie, said that current account holders do not need to panic. “If you have a current account you should be able to switch to a new provider easily and any savings held with Ulster Bank will continue to be safe with the bank until you choose to move them,” he said.

He advises that Irish banks such as the Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB are a good option. If not, people can look at credit unions that offer current account services. An Post, Revolut and N26 also offer banking options.

Mortgage holders

Ulster Bank mortgage holders will receive protection under the Consumer Protection Code depending on their loan offer. The bank’s loans are likely to be bought by another organisation. AIB is in advanced talks to purchase Ulster Bank’s loan.

Saving accounts

The money in the savings accounts is safe. However, like those with mortgages and current accounts, it’s time for those with savings to think about where to move the money.

Darragh Cassidy of bonkers.ie says many banks are likely to run away from those with savings because they do not need investment. So An Post, Revolut and N26 are all good options. But he advises to beware of negative interest rates.

“Ireland is already under banked compared to other countries of our size so the last thing we needed was for the third biggest player to exit the market and reduce competition even further,” Cassidy said. As a result, interest rates and bank fees are likely to rise, he added.

“Ulster Bank’s exit will be most keenly felt in the SME sector where it provided the only real competition to BOI and AIB,” Mr. Cassidy said.

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