Ulster Bank deposits fall to €466m amid ‘big switch’

Lender sets aside a provision to deal with potential compensation costs following loss of tracker cases

Ulster Bank deposits had fallen to £400 million (€466m) by the end of June, according to its UK parent NatWest, following a period of frantic activity by customers to find other providers to take care of their banking needs as the UK-owned lender hastened a retreat from the Irish market.

The figure was down from about €2 billion in March and €21 billion at the end of 2021, 10 months after Ulster Bank’s parent, said that it was winding down its operation in the Republic. The end-June figure was contained in NatWest’s first-half results statement.

NatWest also disclosed that Ulster Bank has set aside a provision this year to deal with potential customer redress costs after it lost a High Court appeal against findings that two borrowers were entitled to tracker mortgage refunds and compensation.

Lawyers for the bank had told the court last year the case, stemming from decisions made by the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO), could have an impact on “thousands” of customers and trigger “enormous financial” consequences for the lender.


The decision to take a provision comes even as Ulster Bank said earlier this month that it would appeal the High Court ruling. NatWest did not disclose the size of provision booked. A spokesman for Ulster Bank declined to comment.

NatWest’s first-half profit came in better than the market expected as the lender reels from the abrupt departure of its chief executive Alison Rose over a damaging public spat with former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

NatWest reported pretax profit of £3.6 billion for the period compared to £2.6 billion the prior year and above the £3.3 billion average of analyst forecasts compiled by the bank.

Ms Rose resigned in the early hours of Wednesday after admitting to a “serious error of judgment” in speaking to a reporter about the banking affairs of Mr Farage. He had complained about the closure of his account with the upmarket Coutts, a subsidiary of NatWest.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times