The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared Permanent TSB’s plan to acquire some of the assets of Ulster Bank Ireland, which is withdrawing from the State’s banking market.
The competition watchdog carried out a preliminary investigation of the proposed deal, before launching a full probe in May.
Based on a review of the evidence, the competition watchdog accepted the argument of both parties that Ulster Bank would have exited the State, whether or not the sale of these assets went ahead.
As a result, it found that the deal would not lead to a substantial lessening of competition, when compared to the alternative scenario of a sale to another buyer.
Mortgages and business loans
The assets include Ulster Bank’s performing non-tracker mortgage loans, as well as some of the bank’s non-performing non-tracker mortgage loans.
Permanent TSB is also taking over Ulster Bank’s performing small-business loan book, 25 properties in its branch network, and its asset-finance loan business.
The CCPC has previously highlighted its concerns about the lack of competition in the banking sector.
It said that it did not, however, have a role in approving or reversing the decision of a company to exit the State.
“The CCPC will continue to engage with stakeholders – including the Department of Finance as part of its retail-banking review – to consider how to ensure the sector is open and competitive for the benefit of everyone,” the watchdog stated.