Troubled Bristol & West prepares for sale

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Bank Of Ireland is close to selling its 97 Bristol & West branches, with Alliance & Leicester tipped to buy the network for a fraction of its original value. The Irish bank paid £600m for the former building society in 1997, but the book value of the branches is now put at around £80m.

Bank Of Ireland is close to selling its 97 Bristol & West branches, with Alliance & Leicester tipped to buy the network for a fraction of its original value. The Irish bank paid £600m for the former building society in 1997, but the book value of the branches is now put at around £80m.

Brian Goggin, the chief executive of Bank of Ireland, announced a review of the troubled B&W operation - best known for its mortgages - last November, stressing that "doing nothing" was not an option.

The Irish bank closed 33 branches last year and 18 before that. It said yesterday that it had received interest in the remaining network from a number of parties. If the talks do not lead to a deal, Bank of Ireland may close the branch network.

The deposit base of £4.5bn is being sold alongside the branches, which employ 950 people and serve 900,000 customers. Bank of Ireland, which has 2 per cent of the UK mortgage market, said that losing the B&W branch network would be "earnings neutral".

It stressed that 8 per cent of sales are done through branches, with most sales executed through independent financial advisers. It will focus in Britain on business banking, mortgages and consumer banking.

Mr Goggin also announced 2,100 job cuts as part of the drive to save €120m by 2009, with 400 job losses to fall in the UK.

Comments