Ulster and PTSB move closer to deal
Markets thrive on competition. The players who remain in the game can look forward to long term rewards, as can their customers, who benefit in terms of better value products.
The danger is always that the market will be dominated by a very small group of providers. When Ulster and KBC decided to exit the market, the prospects of a market dominated by the two big players came into focus. But the mortgage market has been shaken up by new entrants, Avant and Finance Ireland, both of whom are offering excellent rates and undercutting the big lenders. The recent announcement of a purchase of some of Ulster Bank's business by PTSB and the presence of a new shareholder with a sizeable stake in the new business ( Nat West), has the prospect of being a genuine third force in Irish Banking.
The ptsb focus is expected to be on community but this will need extensive investment in IT systems as community banking is now fully online.
Community may well mean PTSB using their brand to focus on extending their product mix to new and existing customers in the area of financial planning, protection and investments, whether as a intermediary or through having its own life company or joint venture.
We hope it all works out well and the market needs a competitive, lean and technology focused third force.