Regardless of who buys Bank of America’s UK and Irish credit card business, guarantees have to be given that all jobs in Carrick-on-Shannon will be retained by the new owner or the successful sale will amount to nothing for the people of this region.
With fears for the future of over 700 jobs in the county town following Bank of America’s announcement that it intends to exit the credit card market in Ireland and the UK, political and business representatives are now seeking assurances that any new owner will retain existing jobs in Co Leitrim.
Bank of America opened its doors in Carrick-on-Shannon in July 2001. Since then it has become the biggest employer in Co Leitrim, bringing millions of euros annually into the surrounding area and generating thousands of jobs in local businesses across the county and into Roscommon, Longford, Sligo and Cavan.
The bank is also a major source of income for the local authority generating €400,000 in annual rates alone, accounting for 9% of the Council’s annual take without even taking into account the additional income generated through water charges as well.
At present Bank of America manages one of the largest credit card businesses in Europe with portfolios in the UK and Ireland. Combined these businesses have over €13 billion (€19 billion US) in credit card loans across the UK and Ireland.
In a carefully worded statement issued on Monday, Bank of America confirmed its Canadian business had been sold and indicated it was the company’s intention to sell its UK and Ireland credit card business.
A representative of the company confirmed to the Leitrim Observer that Bank of America intended to exit the market but stressed that the process was “at a very early stage” and “nothing has been set in stone” when asked if there would be any job losses as a result.
When asked if the bank was considering closing the business, the spokesperson said they were merely “expressing our intention to exit the credit card business” and she went on to state that Bank of America was “now in the process of considering all the alternatives available.”
She said that nobody could know what the final outcome would be at such an early stage and would not comment on whether jobs would be retained in Carrick-on-Shannon following any proposed sale.
However she stressed that staff had been informed and would be kept informed as “any developments occurred.”
“For the staff and our customers it is business as usual,” she maintained.
To read the full story and for full reaction on the developments at Bank of America see this week’s Leitrim Observer.