Bank of America’s refusal to comment on speculation that the sale of the UK and Irish credit card arm, MBNA, has been dropped, has done nothing to allay fears for over 600 at the Carrick-on-Shannon branch of the Bank.
Last week leading financial publications in the US and Europe all claimed that the bank had withdrawn the UK and Irish arm of its business from the market in recent weeks.
Bank of America put the business up for sale in August 2011 after it announced its intention to leave the market. Hopes had been high that the profitable business would find a buyer and it had been intimated that Virgin Money and a joint bid by Apollo and Goldman Sachs were amongst the front runners.
It had been expected that second bids for all or part of the business would be made before Christmas with a sale finalised early in the new year. Since announcing the sale of the business six months ago over 100 staff members in Carrick-on-Shannon have been made redundant with over 400 staff losing their jobs in the Chester base for the Bank in the UK, which employs around 3,000 staff members in total.
Contacting Bank of America for comment, the Leitrim Observer received a one-line response from an Irish spokesperson simply stating that the bank “do not comment on rumour and speculation.”
The highly respected, Wall Street Journal, maintains that the sale has been abandoned and say they have confirmation of this from a “person familiar with the matter.”
Feighan denies sale has been abandoned
Despite the international claims, local TD, Frank Feighan, insists that the sale in still progressing. Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, Deputy Feighan said that he had been in contact with management and the message was that the sale “was still moving along. Negotiations are ongoing,” he maintained.
“I am, and will, continue to work with the Department and with MBNA to try and ensure that the jobs remain in Carrick-on-Shannon. I believe that the claims that the sale of the business has been abandoned are false and I have received assurances that the sale is ongoing.
“My sole objective is to ensure that the sale is delivered on and the jobs are retained for this area.”