Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Minister in pledge over MBNA jobs

The MBNA credit card offices in Dublin, where jobs are also under threat

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton has pledged not to leave any stone unturned in efforts to protect 700 jobs at credit card giant MBNA.

Parent company Bank of America announced that it was pulling out of its credit card operations in Ireland and the UK, placing the future of MBNA's facility in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, in doubt.

After meeting staff and management, Mr Bruton said the company has received expressions of interest about a buy-out, but stressed the process was at an early stage.

"We will leave no stone unturned in our determination to do this," Mr Bruton said.

"This is a start of a process and we can't guarantee the outcome but we have to be prepared and determined in our approach."

Bank of America has said it intends to sell its UK and Ireland card businesses - which have 19 billion US dollars in credit card loans and more than 4,000 employees - but could not guarantee it.

There are fears that even if a buyer is found it may not secure the hundreds of jobs in Leitrim.

It has been speculated that potential buyers could include Barclaycard, Spanish banking giant Santander and French bank Societe Generale.

Richard Branson's Virgin Money has reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring the UK wing only.

Mr Bruton, who travelled to Carrick-on-Shannon to meet staff, management, local politicians and business chiefs, stressed it was early days.

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