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Ulster Bank selling off Northern Ireland business loans as part of £2bn clear out

By John Mulgrew

Published 25/05/2016

Ulster Bank headquarters in Belfast's Donegall Square East
Ulster Bank headquarters in Belfast's Donegall Square East

Ulster Bank is selling off dozens of distressed Northern Ireland business loans to vulture funds amid a £2bn clear out of debt right across the business.

It's selling €2.5bn (£2bn) worth of 900 mortgages and loans right across Ireland.

Around 14% of that debt is based here, however there are no Northern Ireland mortgages as part of this tranche.

It's understood around 1% of the loans are from farmers and other agri-business.

The sale of the distressed business loans - which make up 65% of the sale - buy-to-let mortgages and owner occupier mortgages is aimed at substantially clearing out all remaining toxic property linked loans on the bank’s book on both sides of the border.

The bank has appointed PwC to seek buyers for the loans, either in a single lot or broken into tranches

But debtors won’t be told until the deal closes whether their loans are included in the sale.

And it's the first time customers’ home loans have been sold by Ulster Bank in the Republic, since the crash.

However it has previously offloaded billions of pounds worth of distressed commercial property loans.

A spokesman for Ulster Bank said: "Ulster Bank has confirmed a significant impaired loan portfolio sale, focused in the Republic of Ireland, enabling the bank to strengthen its balance sheet for the benefit of its customers.

"The loans involved do not belong to typical customers, they are all in Ulster Bank’s problem debt management unit and in arrears or under specialist management for a significant period of time."

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