Bank of Scotland (Ireland) to close down

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Bank of Scotland (Ireland) is to shut down, it confirmed today.

The bank, which traded as Halifax on the high street in the Republic of Ireland, is one of the biggest casualties of the recession after laying off 750 workers earlier this year.

It is a division of UK finance giant Lloyds and management announced plans in February to close all its 44 Halifax branches after only four years trading.

In a statement, the Lloyds Banking Group said there was little opportunity for Bank of Scotland (Ireland) (BoSI) to enjoy scalable growth in the future and business would be transferred to Bank of Scotland.

The move will see the balance sheet and loan book effectively placed on bank books outside Ireland.

It is understood 830 staff are still employed by BoSI.

The bank's bosses plan to retain the majority of existing staff by transferring employees to an independent company to oversee administration of its remaining Irish business.

Lloyds said: "This will aid the efficient rundown of the existing lending portfolio."

It said its other business operations in the Irish Republic, an insurance operation in Shannon, and the Halifax branch network and customer service centre in Northern Ireland are unaffected.

The bank said it was committed to working with employees carefully and sensitively as the wind-down takes hold.

BoSI said: "All employees were briefed by management this morning. The union, Unite, has been briefed and BoSI has commenced a process of consultation.

"These proposals will directly impact a number of roles. However, the group expects to minimise this impact with redeployment."

BoSI has staff in its St Stephen's Green head office in Dublin and in regional offices in Belfast, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.