Call for evidence: Banking structure in Northern Ireland

15 July 2013

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee today announces an inquiry into the banking structure in Northern Ireland

Call for evidence

The Committee invites written evidence on its new inquiry The banking structure in Northern Ireland with a view to holding public evidence sessions in the Autumn. Submissions are invited on any aspect of the banking structure in Northern Ireland, but the Committee will be looking in particular at:

1. The structure and governance of banks in Northern Ireland

  • Is there a difference in the structure of banks in Northern Ireland, compared to their structure in Great Britain? Is there any disadvantage for customers, both private and business, in NI as a result?
  • Do banks that operate in both GB and NI, eg, Barclays and Santander, operate differently in NI than in the rest of the UK? Does this result in customers in NI being at a disadvantage compared to customers in GB?
  • What are the consequences for customers in NI of banks and bank debts being owned by non-UK banks; what role does the Republic of Ireland play in NI banking; what effect does the sale of bank assets by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) have on NI property values?

2. The possible breakup of RBS/Ulster Bank

  • It has been reported that HM Treasury are considering trying to persuade the Irish Government to take control of Ulster Bank. This would involve removing Ulster Bank from RBS Group and swapping all, or part, of the bank for the British loans and investments currently owned by NAMA.
  • What would be the implications for NI of such a move?

3. Position of staff of former Irish Bank Resolution Corporation

  • Due to legislation introduced in the Republic of Ireland (without prior consultation with HMG), those people formerly employed in Dublin by IBRC, the successor to the Anglo-Irish Bank, would be able to transfer to Capita, whereas those employed in Belfast had no such rights, and had been made redundant.

4. Access to finance, particularly for Small and Medium Enterprises

  • Historically, finance for start-ups and expansions had been largely provided through Government agencies – ie, Invest NI & its predecessors – with the result that bank finance traditionally played a lesser role in NI than in GB.  Have NI  banks continued to play a lesser role in commercial finance than elsewhere – in particular, have economic and financial conditions since 2008 exacerbated that position?
  • If so, what impact does the problem have on (a) business, (b) Government and (c) economic growth/rebalancing the economy, and what measures might be taken to tackle it?

5. Lack of effectiveness of national initiatives to help aid economic recovery

  • Is the population of NI at a disadvantage to the rest of the UK as a result of the lack of uptake of national economic recovery initiatives by banks in NI?
  • If so, is a more tailored approach from HM Treasury required for Northern Ireland?

6. Lack of availability of detailed regional lending data

  • The lack of available data means that it is difficult to properly assess the impact of the reduced availability of credit in NI, and also means that there is not sufficient visibility about whether banks are reaching their agreed lending targets.
  • How is new lending recorded; how much ‘new’ lending recorded is actually made up of extensions or additions to existing loans; and what are banks actually doing compared to what they are advertising?

7. Access to banking in rural communities

  • Following the closure of Danske Bank of some branches in rural areas, are the interests of those living in more rural areas, particularly the elderly, sufficiently fulfilled by the banking structure as it currently stands?
  • How significantly will the situation be exacerbated if Ulster Bank also closes some of its rural branches?

Submitting written evidence

Written evidence should be submitted via the online web portal on the Committee’s website:


The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines below Monday 2 September 2013. As a guideline submissions should be no longer than 3000 words.

Written evidence submissions

Submissions should a self-contained memorandum in Word or Rich Text Format (not pdfs). Submissions must state clearly who the submission is from e.g. ‘written evidence submitted by xxxx’ and be no more than 3,000 words. Where possible the submission should begin with a short summary and have numbered paragraphs.

Committees publish most of the written evidence they receive on the internet (where it will be accessible to search engines); any that relates to a witness’s oral evidence may also be printed with the Committee’s report at the end of an inquiry.

If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so and explain your reasons for not wishing its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish the evidence. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.

A Committee is not obliged to accept your submission as evidence, nor to publish any or all of the submission even if it has been accepted as evidence.
Committees do not normally investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.

Detailed guidance and data protection

Detailed guidance on giving evidence and data protection is available:

Image: iStockphoto

Share this page