Ulster Bank Group
Ulster Bank is the RBS brand in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It serves personal, bancassurance, corporate and institutional customers through branches and business centres.
Responding to a recessed economy in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland Ulster Bank announced a programme that enabled it to continue to serve its customers and to strengthen its business.
As part of the programme we merged the First Active and Ulster Bank businesses in the Republic of Ireland. We integrated the First Active branches and transferred its customers to Ulster Bank. Ulster Bank now has 238 branches (146 in the Republic of Ireland, 92 in Northern Ireland) and we now serve our 1.9 million customers under one brand.
In 2009 we began to prioritise the customer support. "Flex" helps those who are having trouble meet their debt repayments because of a change in their financial circumstances. In 2009, we assessed around 5,700 customer cases. In 87% of these cases we approved new Flex arrangements, while for some customers no new arrangements were needed.
We also support to our small and medium sized enterprises (SME) through a €1 billion all-Ireland SME fund. In Northern Ireland, under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (EFG), we provided 80% of the total value of EFG loans drawn down in 2009. In 2010, we have committed £300m to SMEs and £500m to the Northern Ireland housing market on top of loans to larger businesses.
The global economy is showing some signs of recovery, but the recession continues in Ireland. However our early action positions us well in these difficult times and to take advantage of an upturn. Throughout, we remain committed to our people and our customers.
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