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Ownership of Retail Banks in Ireland                                                                                               

Major changes in bank ownership

The years 2008-11 have seen very major changes in the ownership of Irish retail banks

Until then, most of the Irish banks were commercially owned entities whose shares were freely quoted on the Irish stock exchange, or were subsidiaries of foreign banks whose shares were traded in the market of the home country. A large proportion of the shares of the Irish-owned banks were held by institutional investors, including pension funds. The share prices of the major Irish banks reached a peak in early 2007, following years of double-digit returns to shareholders. Within less than 20 months from that peak, the shares of AIB and Bank of Ireland had dropped more than 99% from the peak, and shares of Anglo-Irish Bank had been suspended. AIB and Bank of Ireland were re-capitalised by the Irish Government, and Anglo-Irish Bank was nationalized. While the shares have recovered from their low point, the price still remains a fraction of the early 2007 level.

Anglo Irish Bank, together with Irish Nationwide Building Society is now in state ownership, and the combined entity has been renamed as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation(IBRC).  IBRC is in wind-down mode.

In 2010 & 2011 the Irish government increased its shareholding in AIB so that it is now holds a 99.8% shareholding in that bank.

Prior to 2007, the majority of Bank of Ireland shares were held by institutions including pension funds.  It is likely that many such institutions have disposed of their holdings.  The Irish Government is now a substantial shareholder in Bank of Ireland.  There is an active market in Bank of Ireland shares, albeit at a low price.

Ulster Bank Ireland is part of the Ulster Bank Group and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland.  Ulster Bank Ireland acquired First Active in 2004 and the First Active branches were merged into Ulster Bank from 2009

Danske Bank A/S (trading as National Irish Bank) is a part of Danske Bank Group (Danske), Denmark, and is authorised by The Danish FSA in Denmark.  Under such passport arrangements, the bank is regulated for prudential purposes by the Danish FSA, and is regulated for conduct of business by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Irish Life and Permanent (trading as permanent tsb) is part of Irish Life and Permanent Group Holdings plc.  An announcement on its website (Dec 2011) states that “Following the recent bank stress tests in Ireland in March 2011, a restructuring of the group will take place over the coming months”