Friday 19 February 2021 8:38 am

Banks move to buy parts of NatWest’s Irish loan book

Allied Irish Banks has entered a non-binding agreement to buy around €4bn of corporate and commercial loans from NatWest’s Irish outfit, while separate talks elsewhere are ongoing to buy other assets.

This morning NatWest announced it will pull out of its operations in the Republic of Ireland, after reporting a £351m annual loss in 2020.

Read more: NatWest tumbles to £351m loss in 2020 as bank shuts door on Irish market

Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the banking landscape would be poorer as a result of NatWest’s decision to exit Ireland, but welcomed the interest from other local banks in parts of its loan book.

Allied Irish Banks entered a non-binding agreement with NatWest to buy around 4bn of corporate and commercial loans.

Permanent TSB is in early talks to buy some retail and small- and medium-size enterprise assets, liabilities and operations.

The potential transactions remain subject to due diligence, further negotiation and agreement of final approval, as well as all the necessary regulatory approvals.

Read more: PwC: Northern Ireland is the best place to live post-pandemic

“While this is positive news and indicates the potential further development of already well established Irish banks, there is still much work to be done over the coming months,” Donohoe said in a statement.

NatWest intends to withdraw from its Ulster Bank, but operations will not be affection in the region.

Ulster Bank has served customers in Ireland for more than 160 years and is the country’s third largest lender.