Ulster Bank meets Finance & Personnel Committee at Stormont and outlines measures to help support customers and businesses across Northern Ireland

Ulster Bank meets Finance & Personnel Committee at Stormont and outlines measures to help support customers and businesses across Northern Ireland

Senior representatives from Ulster Bank met with members of the Finance & Personnel Committee at Stormont today. It follows a meeting which took place last month with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to discuss the banking industry and global economic downturn’s effects on Northern Ireland.

Speaking following the meeting, Mike Bamber, Chief Executive of Ulster Bank Group Retail Markets said:

“We welcome the constructive and positive talks which took place today with members of the Finance & Personnel Committee; it was a useful exchange of views, allowing us to share Ulster Bank’s approach in responding to customers’ needs during the increasingly challenging economic climate.”

Over the past number of weeks Ulster Bank has introduced a range of initiatives to help support businesses and customers across Northern Ireland during these unprecedented times.

According to Mr. Bamber, “Ulster Bank acknowledges that today’s discussions have taken place at a critical time. We are determined to continue to serve our customers well in the difficult times ahead; and so as a fresh start to the New Year we have announced a range of real and genuine commitments which we are making to support our customers and help alleviate the financial difficulties and pressures they may be facing.”

Some of the initiatives designed to support customers which were recently introduced by Ulster Bank include
Supporting our Mortgage Customers

* In order to help boost the First Time Buyer market in Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank has announced that we will be making up to £100 million available to lend via our Momentum Mortgage to First Time Buyers. The scheme, originally released in September, is being further extended to other house builders across Northern Ireland, with further details to be announced shortly.
* In line with our parent company, RBS, we introduced a 6 month mortgage moratorium on house mortgage repossession actions on 1st Dec 2008.
* With regards to BoE interest rate cuts, all customers with borrowings linked to the base rate, which includes a large proportion of our mortgage customers have benefited from all base rate cuts and we have reduced our standard variable rate by 3.25 per cent since October 2008.

Supporting our Business Customers

* We recently announced new steps to support small business customers in NI. Ulster Bank continues to adopt the terms of its parent, RBS’s, recent pledge on the certainty of overdraft limits and maintaining existing overdraft limits for its SME customers unless there are exceptional circumstances. We also remain committed to maintaining margins for our SME customers whose risk profile is unchanged.

Balancing the interests of Borrowers and Savers

* Ulster Bank recognises the importance of balancing the interests of both our borrowers and savers. This is particularly the case now that pressure has been eased significantly on borrowers during recent months. With regards to our savers, we are committed to providing products which encourage consumers to save and we recommend that our customers have regular savings reviews to ensure they are getting the most from their savings.
* We have reduced rates on overdrafts, credit cards and personal loan products by more than last week’s BoE base rate cut of 0.50 per cent.

Mr Bamber said, “We are conscious that many people across Northern Ireland face financial anxiety, whether it is their ability to continue to make payments on their existing mortgages or other loan payments. In line with these measures we would urge anyone who is worried about their finances to visit any of our 92 branches across NI and speak to one of our expert financial advisors for free and impartial advice as soon as they can.”

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