Northern Ireland: banking on recovery? - Northern Ireland Affairs Contents

1  Introduction

1. The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee announced its inquiry into The Banking Structure in Northern Ireland on 15 July 2013, stating that the Committee would be looking in particular at:

i)  the structure and governance of banks in Northern Ireland;

ii)  the possible breakup of RBS/Ulster Bank;

iii)  the position of the staff of the former Irish Bank Resolution Corporation;

iv)  access to finance, particularly for Small and Medium sized Enterprises;

v)  effectiveness of national initiatives to help aid economic recovery;

vi)  availability of detailed regional lending data; and

vii)  access to banking in rural communities

2. In order to ensure the subject was addressed fully, the Committee took evidence from a wide group of witnesses, including all the major players in the Northern Ireland banking sector, including HM Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, the four main Northern Ireland banks, and representatives of consumers, business and bank employees. We heard oral evidence from 17 sets of witnesses, either at Westminster or at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.[1]

3. We are grateful to all those who gave oral evidence and provided informal briefings, to those who submitted written evidence, to the then Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay MLA,[2] for allowing us to hold our evidence session at Stormont, and for the Assembly staff who facilitated our meeting there. We are also grateful to Tom Reid, a former Director of Ulster Bank, who acted as our specialist adviser for the inquiry.

1   See pp. 39-40 for a list of those who gave public evidence Back

2   Now Lord Hay of Ballyore Back

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Prepared 16 March 2015