The Irish employees at a division of Bank of America in Ireland discovered their jobs were at risk in a time honored fashion: via the grapevine from the US.
The now unemployed workers at MBNA's centre in Carrick-on-Shannon had received calls from relatives living here informing them of reports in the local news that Bank of America planned to exit its Irish credit card MBNA businesses.
The news instantly cast a shadow over the future of almost 700 workers in the County Leitrim town. The bank had been based there since 1997, and a spokesperson said the closure was an attempt to boost its balance sheet.
MBNA is one of the largest credit card providers in Europe, employing some 4,000 people.
Irish Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton told the Herald he had contacted Bank of America officials after the announcement.
'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 said.
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Meanwhile Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan explained the company's decision: 'While the credit card remains a fundamental core product for our US customers, an international consumer card business under another brand is not consistent with our strategy,' he told the press.
The US bank has also announced plans to sell its Canadian credit card business. The group said that the credit card sector was no longer part of the core sector of its business and the bank now had what it called a 'stated desire' to exit its Irish and UK MBNA business.
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