Bank of America has announced its intention to pull out of the Irish and UK credit card market. The decision will mean a 700 job loss in County Leitrim, one of Ireland's poorest counties, unless a new buyer is found.
The bank made the announcement on Monday as it attempts to comply with new U.S. capital requirements which were introduced as a result of the banking crisis.
"While the credit card remains a fundamental core product for our U.S. customers, an international consumer card business under another brand is not consistent with that strategy," Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said Monday in a statement.
Moynihan, an Irish American, is a frequent visitor to ireland and has met the Irish government on many occasions. Charles Cawley, the original MBNA executive who set up the company in Ireland was also a leading Irish American whose mother came from Leitrim. He sold MBNA to Bank of America in 2005
The company also announced they had sold their Canadian credit card business for $8.6 billion.
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MBNA has been operating in Ireland since 1997 and employs some 700 people in their Carrick-on-Shannon branch in County Leitrim. Last year the company laid off 66-staff at the Leitrim branch.
Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton said he had been in contact with Bank of America in relation to the news.
“I have also spoken to the IDA and asked them to work closely with the company with a view to assisting them finding a buyer for the business as a going concern,” Bruton told the Irish Times.
The bank have a combined UK and Irish portfolio of $19 billion in credit-card loans and over 4,000 employees.