It was certainly welcome news to hear on Wednesday last that 250 of the 650 jobs at Bank of America’s headquarters in Carrick-on-Shannon were saved “for the foreseeable future”, however there are serious concerns over the long-term future of the vast majority of jobs in the facility.
Shortly before lunch on March 21, Apollo Global Management made the announcement that it was officially beginning the process of acquiring the Irish loan book of Bank of America/MBNA. The loan books service some 200,000 customers in Ireland with a debt of around €650m.
In a one page statement issued by Apollo to the Leitrim Observer, it was noted that the accounts would “continue to be managed by the approximately 250 person operating platform based in Carrick-on-Shannon. This transaction underscores Apollo’s ability to leverage its integrated platform in pursuit of the attractive investment opportunities arising out of the restructuring of the European financial services landscape.
“We are committed to enhancing and building our European credit businesses, including the acquisition of large portfolios of consumer receivables and performing and non-performing residential and commercial mortgages,” said David Abrams, Managing Partner of Apollo EPF.
A spokesperson for Apollo has also confirmed to local sources that the retention of the Carrick-on-Shannon jobs will continue “for the foreseeable future”.
Ian O’Doherty, Europe Card Executive for Bank of America, said he expected the transaction to be finalised in the first half of 2013, subject to regulatory approval.
“This is a positive outcome for our Irish consumer credit card business. We are now working through all the operational requirements needed to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible for our customers and for our staff working in Carrick-on-Shannon,” he said.
Concerns remain, however, for the future of the vast majority of jobs at the Bank of America offices in Carrick-on-Shannon.
At present 400 associates there serve the UK credit card market, that accounts for nearly two thirds of the workforce in Carrick-on-Shannon. To date no buyer has been found for the UK arm of the business although negotiations are continuing.
Bank of America has also indicated that jobs for the remaining 400 staff serving the UK market will be retained for now as the bank still wants to sell this part of the business as a ‘going concern’.
However the Leitrim Observer understands that Bank of America will not maintain the jobs indefinitely and, if a buyer is not found for the business by 2014, then all options, including closure of the business, will be considered.