Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has said the Central Bank needs to examine whether the mistreatment of business customers by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in the UK also applied to Ulster Bank customers in Ireland.

Deputy McGrath wrote to the Governor of the Central Bank Philip Lane to establish the Central Bank’s intentions on the issue and he has today published the response received from the Governor.

Deputy McGrath commented, “In the UK, RBS has set up a STG£400m fund to compensate up to 12,000 business customers that ended up in the bank’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG). In the case of Ulster Bank in Ireland, we know that fewer than 100 Irish SMEs out of 2,141 placed into the GRG successfully emerged from this process. This means many jobs were lost in companies that were customers of the Bank and we need to know whether or not the handling of their loans by Ulster Bank contributed to this outcome.

“In recent months, I have been contacted by a significant number of Ulster Bank customers who believe their business was treated very unfairly as part of the GRG process. Governor Lane has said in response to me that ‘Ulster Bank is engaging with the Central Bank in relation to this matter.’

“It seems to me that, at a minimum, the Central Bank needs to examine a sample number of Ulster Bank business customer files that ended up in GRG to determine whether the mistreatment by RBS in the UK also applies here. The outcome of this would then inform the decision as to whether to launch a more comprehensive investigation.

“The Central Bank needs to clarify what exactly its engagement with Ulster Bank on this issue involves and whether or not it intends to commence an investigation into the issue.”