Business

Ulster Bank to sell off Danesfort call centre and transfer staff to city centre

Ulster Bank is to relocate around 600 staff from Danesfort to its headquarters building in Belfast city centre
Gary McDonald Business Editor

ULSTER Bank is to shut its Danesfort call centre in south Belfast and sell off the building.

All 600-plus staff there are being transferred to the bank’s headquarters building at Donegall Square East in Belfast city centre, where there is spare capacity.

The bank stressed there would be "no job losses involved" as part of the relocation, which was outlined to staff members yesterday and which should be completed by the middle of next year.

It is understood the Danesfort building - from where staff handle calls and web chats and deal with customer technical issues - will be refurbished and sold off, potentially raising around £10 million.

Ulster Bank said it was also making a "multi-million pound investment" to upgrade its HQ, allowing all its staff to come together in a single high-quality grade A building in city centre.

Mark Crimmins, head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, said the move represents an important investment for the bank which will create a contemporary and vibrant working space.

He said: “This investment will allow us to better utilise spare capacity at our headquarters building, bring our teams together in one place to encourage partnership, and to significantly upgrade facilities for our employees.

“It will allow us to provide our team members with a highly-modern, collaborative environment in which to work.”

In 2013 Ulster Bank first revealed plans to hive off its main Belfast properties at Donegall Square East and Danesfort and have them leased back by its parent company RBS Group as part of a move to free up cash for the struggling firm, which the year before had reported a loss of more than £1 billion.

At that stage the bank's Belfast headquarters building was valued at £19.4m and was planned to be leased for 15 years at around £1.5m a year.

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