SFA responds to Ulster Bank exit from Irish Banking market

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Responding to Ulster Bank’s announcement of a phased withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland over the coming years, Small Firms Association (SFA) Chair Graham Byrne said: “It is devastating news to hear that Ulster Bank, a pillar bank that has been in business servicing the small business community for 156 years, is exiting the Irish market. This decision is not just bad news for the Irish banking sector but for the dedicated staff and customers who will be directly affected.

“This announcement is a further blow for Irish small business and entrepreneurs accessing Irish banks. There has been unprecedented contraction since the credit crisis of 2009, which saw the flight or closure of multiple business banks and non-banks. This was not addressed in the past decade and further compounds the lack of competition in business banking. Given the exceptional challenges that both the pandemic and Brexit have created, Ulster Bank’s departure, while phased, will play a significant factor in a slower rebound for indigenous small business.

“We urge the Government to focus on attracting new bank and non-banking activity into Ireland to fill the gap that this will leave. Boosting finance providers for all small business will deliver greater options, better products and innovated solutions which will allow small firms to drive the recovery phase of this crisis by creating jobs and growth,” concluded Byrne.