Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Sean Fleming has described the decision by Ulster Bank to transfer its mortgage arrears unit from Dublin to Edinburgh as bad for Ireland.

Deputy Fleming is asking the Central Bank, as regulator, to examine whether this announcement will affect Ulster Bank’s ability to meet its obligations in dealing with mortgage arrears cases.  The move will result in 110 job losses at its mortgage unit in Sandyford.

Deputy Fleming said: “We are in a very difficult period where tens of thousands of cases must be dealt with by the banks as part of the mortgage arrears resolution targets programme.  This is affecting thousands of families across the country.  Ulster Bank represents a large proportion of the cases involved.  It is crucial that these cases are dealt with efficiently as well as sympathetically and in line with the targets set down.

“I am concerned that there will be a loss of expertise and in particular valuable local knowledge as a result of this move.  This could mean there will be unnecessary delays in dealing with cases and further distress for customers.  It will certainly break a personal link that exists in the process for borrowers at the moment.

“I would call on Ulster Bank to clarify what plans it has to ensure a smooth transition takes place for its customers.  In particular it is vital that there is no disruption in dealing with cases that are currently in train.  Before this move goes ahead the Central Bank should satisfy itself that the arrangements are fit for purpose.  Until this is the case I am asking that the Central Bank request Ulster Bank put the decision on hold.”