Bank of Ireland to wind down British corporate lending business

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Bank of Ireland plans to wind down its 2 billion euro ($2.17 billion) corporate lending business in Britain, in its latest retreat from the market which it said on Wednesday was aimed at generating long-term sustainable returns.

Ireland’s largest bank has reduced its lending assets in the UK by about a quarter since 2017 and announced the end of its partnership with UK motoring services group The AA in December, alongside a cut to its products provided via the UK Post Office.

“By being more purposeful and strategic about what we offer in the UK we have transformed the performance of our businesses in recent years,” the bank said in a statement, noting a 57% increase in underlying profitability in the UK since 2019.

Bank of Ireland said the move will impact around 40 staff based in London and Manchester, who will be offered options including voluntary redundancy or potential redeployment.

The wind down could take up to 36 months to complete, the bank said, adding that it excluded commercial real estate, acquisition finance and its Northern Irish operations.

Davy Stockbrokers said the wind down of the portfolio it estimated totalled 2 billion euros or 2.5% of the bank’s loan book should not have a material impact on earnings forecasts but positively benefit return on tangible equity (ROTE).

($1 = 0.9237 euros)

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alison Williams)


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