And then there were three: core banks look to the future after an eventful 2021

From the departures of Ulster Bank and KBC to the opportunistic acquisition of Davy Stockbrokers by Bank of Ireland, it was a year of twists and turns in the Irish banking sector

Francesca McDonagh, chief executive of Bank of Ireland: the bank took on ‘substantially’ all of KBC’s performing loans and deposit book in a deal worth €5 billion.Picture: Maura Hickey

Staid, slow-moving, conservative: with the exceptions of the financial crisis and the part-nationalisation of lenders that followed, Irish banking tends to be a steadier industry than most.

2021, however, represented a swift and significant departure from that status quo, with two of the country’s five main retail banks announcing plans to depart the Irish market, and those left behind announcing significant expansion plans.

The first significant announcement of the year dovetailed neatly with one of ...