Bank of Ireland confirms voluntary redundancy plan to cut workforce by 1,400

Bank of Ireland's headquarters on Donegall Square South Belfast.
Ryan McAleer

BANK of Ireland has confirmed it plans to cut its workforce by 1,400 over the coming years.

According to the latest half-year results released yesterday, the group had just under 10,400 staff across the UK and Ireland in June.

It said a group-wide voluntary redundancy scheme would seek to take the number below 9,000.

Bank of Ireland currently has 28 branches in the north.

Group chief executive Francesca McDonagh said Covid-19 had a material impact on the group’s financial performance in the first half of 2020.

Around 105,000 payment breaks were granted to customers in both Ireland and the UK during the pandemic lockdown period.

Bank of Ireland reported an underlying loss before tax of €669 million (£605m), including an impairment charge of €937m (£846m), mostly factoring in anticipated Covid-19 related losses.

It said the group’s full year impairment charge could reach €1.3bn (£1.17bn).

The group’s Retail UK business registered an underlying loss of £145m in the first half of 2020, largely due to a £250m impairment charge.

Retail UK incorporates Northridge Finance and bank’s financial services partnerships with the UK Post Office and the AA.

Francesca McDonagh said Covid-19 had made the already challenging market conditions in the UK market even more difficult.

“These adverse market conditions now require further restructuring of our retail businesses in the UK,” said the chief executive.

“In Northern Ireland, a strategic review has recently commenced to assess options for the business.”

The group’s portfolio in the north includes £2.5bn of consumer, mortgage and business loans; £5bn of deposit and current accounts; and around 200,000 consumer and business customers.

"We are taking actions now to ensure the group is well positioned to deliver improved and enhanced performance post Covid-19 including further cost reduction below current targets, ongoing digital transformation, and a further restructuring of our UK business to improve returns," said the bank boss.

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