Bank of Ireland
Bank of Ireland Group plc is a commercial bank operation in Ireland and one of the traditional'Big Four' Irish banks. The premier banking organisation in Ireland, the Bank occupies a unique position in Irish banking history. At the core of the modern-day group is the old Bank of Ireland, the ancient institution established by Royal Charter in 1783. Bank of Ireland is the oldest bank in continuous operation in Ireland; the history is. 1783 – 25 June 1783, the Bank of Ireland opened for business at Mary's Abbey in a private house owned by one Charles Blakeney. 1808 – 6 June 1808, Bank of Ireland moved to 2 College Green. 1864 – Bank of Ireland first pays interest on deposits. 1926 – The Bank of Ireland took control of the National Land Bank – a friendly society. 1948 – The Bank of Ireland 1783–1946 by F. G. Hall was published jointly by Hodges Figgis and Blackwell's. 1958 – The Bank took over the Hibernian Bank Limited. 1965 – The National Bank Ltd, a bank founded by Daniel O'Connell in 1835, had branches in Ireland and Britain.
The Irish branches were acquired by Bank of Ireland and rebranded temporarily as National Bank of Ireland, before being incorporated into Bank of Ireland. The British branches were acquired by Glyn's Bank. 1980 - The first Pass card and machine were open known as ATM. 1983 – Bank of Ireland Bi-Centenary. A commemorative stamp was issued; the Bank commissioned the publication of "An Irish Florilegium". 1995 – Bank of Ireland merge First New Hampshire Bank with Royal Bank of Scotland's Citizens Financial Group 1996 – Bank of Ireland buys the Bristol and West building society for €882m, which keeps its own brand. 1999 – Merger talks with Alliance & Leicester were held and called off. 2000 – It is announced that Bank of Ireland is to acquire Chase de Vere. 2002 – Bank of Ireland acquires Iridian, the US investment manager, which doubles the size of its asset management business. 2005 – Bank of Ireland completes the sale of the Bristol and West branch and Direct Savings to Britannia Building Society.
2008 – Moody's Investors Service changed its outlook on Bank of Ireland from stable to negative. Moody's pinpointed concerns over weakening asset quality and the impact of a more challenging economic environment on profitability at Bank of Ireland. A share price collapse followed. 2009 – The Irish government announces a €7 billion rescue package for the bank and Allied Irish Banks plc in February. The biggest bank robbery in the history of the state took place at Bank of Ireland at College Green. Consultants Oliver Wyman validated Bank of Ireland's bad debt levels at €6 billion over three years to March 2011, a bad debt level, exceeded by €1 billion within a matter of months. 2010 – The European Commission orders the disposal of Bank of Ireland Asset Management, New Ireland Assurance, ICS Building Society, its US Foreign Exchange business and the stakes held in the Irish Credit Bureau and in an American Asset Manager followed the receipt of Irish Government State aid. 2011 – The Securities Services Division is sold to Northern Trust Corporation.
2013 – Bank of Ireland more than doubles interest rates on mortgages tracking the Bank of England rates, citing the need to hold more reserves and the'increased cost of funding mortgages'. Described by Ray Boulger of broker John Charcol as'having shot the reputation of its mortgages to smithereens' the bank continues to offer competitive mortgages through the Post Office. 2014 – Regulation of the bank will transfer to the European Central Bank. 2014 – Enters marketing alliance with EVO Payments International and re-enters the card acquiring market. BOI Payment Acceptance launches in December 2014; the Bank of Ireland is not, was never, the Irish central bank. However, as well as being a commercial bank – a deposit-taker and a credit institution – it performed many central bank functions, much like the earlier-established Bank of Scotland and Bank of England; the Bank of Ireland operated the Exchequer Account and during the nineteenth century acted as something of a banker of last resort. The titles of the chairman of the board of directors and the title of the board itself suggest a central bank status.
From the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922 until 31 December 1971, the Bank of Ireland was the banker of the Irish Government. The headquarters of the bank until the 1970s was the impressive Parliament House on College Green, Dublin; this building was designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce in 1729 to host the Irish Parliament, it was the world's first purpose-built bicameral parliament building. The bank had planned to commission a building designed by Sir John Soane to be constructed on the site bounded by Westmoreland Street, Fleet Street, College Street and D'Olier Street. However, the project was cancelled following the Act of Union in 1800, when the newly defunct Parliament House was bought by the Bank of Ireland in 1803; the former Parliament House continues today as a working branch. Today, visitors can still view the impressive Irish House of Lords chamber within the old headquarters building; the Oireachtas, the modern parliament of the Republic of Ireland, is now housed in Leinster House in Dublin.
In 2011, the Irish Government set out proposals to acquire the building as a venue for the state to use as a cultural venue. In the 1970s the bank moved its headquarters to a modern building on Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2; as Frank McDonald notes in his book Destructi
Dundas House is a Neoclassical building in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located in the city's first New Town; the building was completed in 1774 as a private town house for Sir Lawrence Dundas by the architect Sir William Chambers. Much altered internally and extended over the years, today it is the registered office of the Royal Bank of Scotland, it is protected as a category A listed building; when the town council made plans for a New Town drawn up by James Craig in 1767, the site of Dundas House was shown as a proposed church, St. Andrew's, acting as a counterpart to St. George's Church on what became Charlotte Square; the two were separated by the New Town itself laid out on a formal grid centred on George Street along which the two churches were to face each other. Sir Lawrence Dundas saw the layout and decided the church site would make a good location for a prestigious town mansion, in 1768 he acquired the land, he invited designs from the architects John Carr and James Byres, but their proposals were not adopted.
Dundas turned to Sir William Chambers who drew up plans for the mansion in early 1771. The designs were agreed, soon afterwards construction began on the house; the building was completed by January 1774. In 1780 Hugo Arnot described the building as "incomparably the handsomest townhouse we saw"; the proposed St Andrew's Church was subsequently built at a less prominent site at 13 George Street. Lord Dundas died in 1781 and his son inherited the house. Having no great desire to live here he sold the house to the government and it became a Customs House. At this stage it gained the royal coat of arms in its pediment. Dundas House was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1825; the interior was altered in 1825 and 1828 in 1836 by William Burn. Much of these alterations were removed by John Dick Peddie in 1857 when a banking hall with a distinctive pierced dome was added to the rear of the existing house. In 1834, a statue of John Hope, 4th Earl of Hopetoun, who had served as Governor of the Bank 1820–23, was placed in the garden in front of Dundas House.
The statue was commissioned in 1824 by the City of Edinburgh from the sculptor Thomas Campbell as a centrepiece for Charlotte Square at the west end of the New Town, but was removed to its current location. In 1972 the 19th century banking screens and counters were removed and replaced by white marble counters. Dundas House is a free-standing house designed in the Palladian style, it was modelled on Roger Morris's 1729 Palladian villa Marble Hill House in Twickenham, London but is much grander. The house is built of cream sandstone ashlar, weathered to light grey, from Ravelston Quarry some three miles to the west, it is fronted with a set of Corinthian pilasters supporting a large central pediment. The house is faced with ashlar with a rusticated ground floor; the large, opulent banking hall, added by Peddie in 1857, is covered by a large circular blue dome, pierced by 5 tiers of star-shaped gold-rimmed coffered skylights radiating out from the central oculus which diminish in size towards the centre, representing the firmament.
An illustration of this star pattern featured on Royal Bank of Scotland's "Islay" series of banknotes which were in circulation 1987–2016. In plans unveiled by the International Music and Performing Arts Charitable Trust Scotland in 2017, a new concert hall called the Impact Centre will be built behind Dundas House, replacing a block of banking offices, built in the 1960s. Dundas House will be retained as a bank branch, accessible to the public. Banknotes of Scotland Edinburgh Bank — BBC Nationwide
Clydesdale Bank plc is a commercial bank in Scotland. Formed in Glasgow in 1838, it is the smallest of the three Scottish banks. Independent until it was purchased by Midland Bank in 1920, it formed part of the National Australia Bank Group between 1987 and 2016. Clydesdale Bank was divested from National Australia Bank in early 2016 and its holding company CYBG plc, trades on the London and Sydney stock exchanges. CYBG plc's other banking business, Yorkshire Bank operates as a trading division of Clydesdale Bank plc under its banking licence. In June 2018, it was announced that Clydesdale Bank's holding company CYBG would acquire Virgin Money for £1.7 billion in an all-stock deal, that the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank brands would be phased out in favour of retaining Virgin's brand. As with two other Scottish banks, the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank retains the right to issue its own banknotes. In March 1838, an advertisement appeared for a new joint stock banking company in Glasgow, the Clydesdale Banking Company.
It was to be "chiefly a local bank – having few branches – but correspondents everywhere" though it was conceded that a branch in Edinburgh would be necessary. The Bank duly opened for business in both cities in May 1838. Checkland described the Bank as the creation of "a group of Glasgow businessmen of middling order, liberal radicals…who were active in the government and charities of the city."The driving figure behind the formation of the Bank was James Lumsden, a stationer by business, a councillor, police commissioner and Lord Provost of Glasgow. Another member of the founding committee, Henry Brock, became the Bank's first manager. Brock came of a merchant family, was an accountant and one of the founders of the Glasgow Savings Bank. Despite the declaration in the advertisement, in the year after formation the Bank opened three Glasgow branches as well as its first country branches in Campbeltown and Falkirk; these were supplemented by the acquisition of the Greenock Union Bank. Following the purchase of the Greenock Union, there was little change in the structure of the Bank and there were still only 13 branches in 1857.
In that year, Clydesdale became the first Scottish bank to produce a printed balance sheet, it showed assets of £2.7 million and net profits of £70,000. The public disclosure of its strength stood it in good stead, for only months the Western Bank of Scotland closed its doors, followed the next day by the first closure of the City of Glasgow Bank. Clydesdale gained not only customers but 13 branches from the Western. A few months came the acquisition of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank, weakened by the same economic disturbances; the Edinburgh & Leith Bank, as it was had been formed in 1838 "for the benefit of the'industrious middle classes'" and it had bought the Dumfries-based Southern Bank of Scotland in 1842 and the Glasgow Joint Stock Bank in 1844, the latter leading to the change of name to Edinburgh & Glasgow Bank. Poor lending in the 1845–47 period to Australia, dogged the Bank for the next ten years and it was taken over by the Clydesdale for a nil consideration. Five years in 1863, Clydesdale acquired the more successful Eastern Bank of Scotland, like Clydesdale founded in 1838.
Based in Dundee it was to have one in Dundee, the other Edinburgh. Before opening for business it acquired the Dundee Commercial Bank to serve as its Dundee office. Difficulties with the two boards working together led to the Edinburgh bank being wound up and the Eastern became an Dundee bank. Much of the growth in the Bank's network had come from acquisitions and the management remained cautious regarding direct branch expansion. However, in 1865, a committee was formed to look at prospects and 16 branches were opened in two years. In 1874 the Clydesdale went south of the border and opened three branches in Cumberland but this was seen as following existing trade rather than making a specific attempt to enter the English market. Indeed, Clydesdale was one of the last Scottish banks to acquire a London office. In 1878, the City of Glasgow Bank failed for the second time, leading again to an increase in Clydesdale's deposits and the acquisition of nine of the Glasgow branches; the scale of the collapse led to further debate on desirability of limited liability and, following legislation in 1879, Clydesdale Bank registered as a limited liability company in 1882.
Reid described the period 1890–1914 as "the tranquil years", but that did not preclude steady expansion of the branch network – from 92 to 153. That was to mark the end of Clydesdale's independent existence. In 1917 the Bank was approached by London City and Midland and, although resisted, Clydesdale Bank was sold in 1920. However, it continued to operate independently and was always referred to as an affiliate, not a subsidiary; the Glasgow banks suffered more than others in the depressed economy of the inter-war period and from being the largest lender in Scotland in 1920, it fell to fifth place by 1939. Despite this, the Bank continued to open branches in areas enjoying export growth, the network increased from 158 in 1919 to 205 in 1939. Midland had acquired the North of Scotland Bank in 1923 but the Aberdeen management had fiercely resisted any attempt to merge with Clydesdale. However, the changed competitive market after the Second World War meant that the two banks co
Bank of England £50 note
The Bank of England £50 note is a banknote of the pound sterling. It is the highest denomination of banknote issued for public circulation by the Bank of England; the current cotton note, first issued in 2011, bears the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and the images of engineer and scientist James Watt and industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton on the reverse. £50 notes were introduced by the Bank of England for the first time in 1725. The earliest notes were issued as needed to individuals; these notes were written on one side only and bore the name of the payee, the date, the signature of the issuing cashier. With the exception of the Restriction Period between 1797 and 1821, when the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars caused a bullion shortage, these notes could be exchanged in full, or in part, for an equivalent amount of gold when presented at the bank. If redeemed in part, the banknote would be signed to indicate the amount, redeemed. From 1853 printed notes replaced handwritten notes, with the declaration "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of fifty pounds" replacing the name of the payee.
This declaration remains on Bank of England banknotes to this day. A printed signature of one of three cashiers appeared on the printed notes, although this was replaced by the signature of the Chief Cashier from 1870 onwards; the ability to redeem banknotes for gold ceased in 1931 when Britain stopped using the gold standard. The £50 note ceased to be produced by the Bank of England in 1943 and did not reappear until it was reintroduced in 1981; these D series notes were predominantly olive green on both sides, with an image of Queen Elizabeth II on the front and an image of architect Christopher Wren on the back. As a security feature, this note had a metallic thread running through it, upgraded to a "windowed" thread from July 1988 onward; the thread is woven into the paper such that it forms a dashed line, yet appears as a single line when held up to the light. The series D note was replaced by the series E, beginning in 1994; this reddish note replaced Christopher Wren with John Houblon, the first governor of the Bank of England, on the reverse.
As an additional security feature, these notes had a foil patch on the front. The E revision series didn't have a £50 note; the current £50 note was introduced in 2011. It features two portraits on the reverse: engineer and scientist James Watt and industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton, along with the Whitbread Engine and the Soho Manufactory, Birmingham; the note has a number of security features in addition to the metallic thread, including motion thread, raised print, a watermark, microlettering, a see-through register, a colourful pattern that only appears under ultraviolet light. The current note is the first Bank of England banknote to feature two people on the reverse, the first Bank of England note to feature the motion thread security feature; this is an image in a broken green thread. The Bank of England has issued new £5 and £10 notes in polymer form. In October 2018, the Bank of England announced that the £50 note would be retained, with a new Series G polymer note planned to replace the Series F note at some point after 2020.
The Bank of England has a committee to consider nominations for the face of the new notes via public consultation. Peter Sands, an advisor to the British Government and former Chief Executive of Standard Chartered, has raised concern with the Bank of England over high denomination notes and their role in tax evasion, he claimed that scrapping the £50, other high denomination notes such as the CHF 1000 and $100, would reduce financial crime. Information taken from Bank of England website. Bank of England note issues Bank of England website
A banknote is a type of negotiable promissory note, made by a bank, payable to the bearer on demand. Banknotes were issued by commercial banks, which were required to redeem the notes for legal tender when presented to the chief cashier of the originating bank; these commercial banknotes only traded at face value in the market served by the issuing bank. Commercial banknotes have been replaced by national banknotes issued by central banks. National banknotes are legal tender, meaning that medium of payment is allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Banks sought to ensure that they could always pay customers in coins when they presented banknotes for payment; this practice of "backing" notes with something of substance is the basis for the history of central banks backing their currencies in gold or silver. Today, most national currencies have no backing in precious metals or commodities and have value only by fiat. With the exception of non-circulating high-value or precious metal issues, coins are used for lower valued monetary units, while banknotes are used for higher values.
In China during the Han dynasty promissory notes were made of leather. Rome may have used a durable lightweight substance as promissory notes in 57 AD which have been found in London. However, Carthage was purported to have issued bank notes on parchment or leather before 146 BC. Hence Carthage may be the oldest user of lightweight promissory notes; the first known banknote was first developed in China during the Tang and Song dynasties, starting in the 7th century. Its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang dynasty, as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions. During the Yuan dynasty, banknotes were adopted by the Mongol Empire. In Europe, the concept of banknotes was first introduced during the 13th century by travelers such as Marco Polo, with European banknotes appearing in 1661 in Sweden. Counterfeiting, the forgery of banknotes, is an inherent challenge in issuing currency, it is countered by anticounterfeiting measures in the printing of banknotes.
Fighting the counterfeiting of banknotes and cheques has been a principal driver of security printing methods development in recent centuries. Paper currency first developed in Tang dynasty China during the 7th century, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song dynasty; the usage of paper currency spread throughout the Mongol Empire or Yuan dynasty China. European explorers like Marco Polo introduced the concept in Europe during the 13th century. Napoleon issued paper banknotes in the early 1800s. Cash paper money originated as receipts for value held on account "value received", should not be conflated with promissory "sight bills" which were issued with a promise to convert at a date; the perception of banknotes as money has evolved over time. Money was based on precious metals. Banknotes were seen by some as an I. O. U. or promissory note: a promise to pay someone in precious metal on presentation, but were accepted - for convenience and security - in the City of London for example from the late 1600s onwards.
With the removal of precious metals from the monetary system, banknotes evolved into pure fiat money. Development of the banknote began in the Tang dynasty during the 7th century, with local issues of paper currency, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song dynasty, its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang Dynasty, as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions. Before the use of paper, the Chinese used coins that were circular, with a rectangular hole in the middle. Several coins could be strung together on a rope. Merchants in China, if they became rich enough, found that their strings of coins were too heavy to carry around easily. To solve this problem, coins were left with a trustworthy person, the merchant was given a slip of paper recording how much money they had with that person. If they showed the paper to that person, they could regain their money; the Song Dynasty paper money called "jiaozi" originated from these promissory notes.
By 960 the Song dynasty, short of copper for striking coins, issued the first circulating notes. A note is a promise to redeem for some other object of value specie; the issue of credit notes is for a limited duration, at some discount to the promised amount later. The jiaozi did not replace coins during the Song Dynasty; the central government soon observed the economic advantages of printing paper money, issuing a monopoly right of several of the deposit shops to the issuance of these certificates of deposit. By the early 12th century, the amount of banknotes issued in a single year amounted to an annual rate of 26 million strings of cash coins. By the 1120s the central government stepped in and produced their own state-issued paper money. Before this point, the Song government was amassing large amounts of paper tribute, it was recorded that each year before 1101 AD, the prefecture of Xin'an alone would send 1,500,000 sheets of paper in seven different varieties to the capital at Kaifeng. In that year of 1101, the Emperor Huizong of Song decided to lessen the amount of paper taken in the tribute quota, because it was causing detrimental effects and creating heavy burdens on the people of the regio
The Royal Bank of Scotland £1 note
The Royal Bank of Scotland £1 note is a banknote of the pound sterling. It is the smallest denomination of banknote issued by The Royal Bank of Scotland; the current cotton note, first issued in 1987 bears an image of Lord Ilay, one of the founders of the bank, on the obverse and a vignette of Edinburgh Castle on the reverse. The £1 note is the smallest denomination of banknote issued by The Royal Bank of Scotland; the bank ceased regular production of £1 notes in 2001. In common with a number of other banks in Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland has retained the right to issue its own banknotes, it first issued notes in the same year the bank was founded. The issuing of banknotes by Scottish banks was regulated by the Banknote Act 1845 until it was superseded by the Banking Act 2009. Scottish banknotes are legal tender and as currency are accepted throughout the United Kingdom. Scottish banknotes are backed such that holders have the same level of protection as those holding genuine Bank of England notes.
In 1727, the Royal Bank of Scotland began issuing twenty-shilling notes. Early banknotes were monochrome, printed on one side only; the first twenty-shilling notes were dated 8 December 1727 and were hand-signed by a bank cashier and given a unique number. The cashier added by hand the equivalent value in old Scots pounds — a currency, abolished 20 years earlier in the Acts of Union 1707 which united the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain. Twenty shillings was equivalent to £12 Scots; the bank continued the custom of including the value in old Scots pounds until 1792 to encourage acceptance of its banknotes. This series of banknotes was the first British banknote to have a royal portrait, as they featured a vignette of King George II, who had ascended to the British throne earlier that year. At the time, printing portraits was a difficult and expensive process, including a likeness of the King served as an effective anti-counterfeiting device; the banknotes were held at the bank in bound bundles, similar to modern cheque books.
When issued, the cashier would cut the note out with a wavy line. The Royal Bank's 1826 issue of the £1 note displayed much more intricate detail as printing processes were improved by the introduction of steel plates, it the first British banknote to be printed on both sides; this issue featured a portrait of King George IV, this was the last standard-issue Royal Bank of Scotland banknote to depict a reigning monarch. It was issued after the controversy of the Bankers Act 1826, in which the British government attempted unsuccessfully to prohibit the issue of low-value banknotes; the Royal Bank of Scotland's 1832 issue of £1 notes established the design for all the bank's £1 note issues for 136 years. It featured the bank's name surmounted by the Royal Arms of Scotland, in which the heraldic supporters of The Lion and the Unicorn flanked a portrait of King George I, commemorating his royal assent for the formation of the bank in 1727; the note featured illustrations of the allegorical figures of Britannia, looking out over the seas, Plenty, holding a cornucopia.
This design remained unchanged with only minor alterations. In 1968, the Royal Bank's £1 note design underwent its first major change to match the 1966 £5 note issue. For the first time, Royal Bank notes no longer bore a royal portrait, it was the Royal Bank's first full-colour note, bore the bank's coat of arms and included a steel security strip. The Dale Series was short-lived; these notes were the first Royal Bank notes to conform to the banknote colour conventions across the UK, so that all £1 notes were coloured green. The front of the note featured the coat of arms of the Royal Bank of Scotland, on the reverse was an illustration of the Forth Road Bridge. In 1987, the Royal Bank issued its Ilay series of banknotes, named after Lord Ilay, first governor of the bank, whose portrait appears on the front of all the notes; the illustration is based on a 1744 portrait painting of Lord Ilay by Allan Ramsay. Other common design elements include the bank's coat of arms and logo, the facade of Dundas House, the bank's headquarters in Edinburgh, a pattern representing the ceiling of the headquarters' banking hall, an image of Lord Ilay as watermark.
All of the Ilay series notes feature a castle on the back. On the reverse of the £1 note is an image of Edinburgh Castle and the National Gallery of Scotland.£1 notes are now used. The Royal Bank was the last bank in Scotland to issue £1 notes, stopped production in 2001. In 2015, a new series of polymer banknote was introduced by the Royal Bank, replacing its Ilay series £5 and £10 notes. Information taken from The Committee of Scottish Bankers website. Design elements on the Ilay Series £1 note In 1992, The Royal Bank of Scotland issued the first special commemorative banknote in Britain and in Europe; the first commemorative £1 note was issued to mark the European Council Summit, held in Edinburgh on 8 December 1992. Since the Royal Bank has issued a number of c
Ulster Bank is a large commercial bank, one of the traditional Big Four Irish banks. The Ulster Bank Group is subdivided into two separate legal entities, Ulster Bank Limited and Ulster Bank Ireland DAC; the Group's headquarters is located on George's Quay, Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland whilst the official headquarters of UBL is in Donegall Square East, Belfast, in Northern Ireland, it maintains a large sector of the financial services in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Established in 1836, Ulster Bank was acquired by the Westminster Bank in 1917; as a direct subsidiary of National Westminster Bank, it became part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group in 2000. It has 146 branches in the Republic of Ireland and 90 in Northern Ireland with over 1,200 non-charging ATMs; the Group has over 1.9 million clients. Ulster Bank was founded as The Ulster Banking Company in Belfast in 1836; the bank was formed by a breakaway faction of shareholders in the newly formed National Bank of Ireland, founded in 1835, who objected to the latter bank's plan to invest profits from the bank in London rather than in Belfast.
The founding directors of the bank were John Heron, Robert Grimshaw, John Currell a linen bleacher from Ballymena, James Steen, a Belfast pork curer. In 2002 three Ulster Bank employees were arrested on charges of money laundering; the three were responsible for the destruction of old banknotes at the bank's former Waring Street cash centre. Between November 2001 and February 2002 they were accused of stealing £900,000 of used banknotes designated for disposal; the money was placed in various bank and building society accounts. On 23 January 2004 the men were jailed for two and a half years for the theft of £770,000. Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr criticised the bank's security measures during the trial. In 2003/2004, Ulster Bank Group purchased First Active, Ireland's oldest building society, for €887 million. In 2009, the First Active branch network and business of several hundred thousand savers and borrowers was merged with Ulster Bank, the brand name was retired in 2010. In June 2012 a computer system failure prevented customers from accessing accounts.
Initial estimates that the problem would be sorted out within a week were wildly optimistic with thousands of customers still unable to access their accounts into late July 2012, with ongoing issues still not resolved by mid August 2012. This RBS / NatWest / Ulster Bank issue has proved to be one of the largest IT failures the world has known. Ulster Bank has set aside £28M for compensation to customers. In March 2014 it was reported that the RBS Group was considering merging the bank in the Republic of Ireland with some of its rivals in order to reduce its holding. RBS Group's annual results for 2013 revealed Ulster Bank had operating losses of £1.5 billion and accounted for a fifth of the parent group's total bad debt charges. In October 2014 RBS confirmed it would retain Ulster Bank following improved market conditions in Ireland. Ulster Bank provide a full range of banking and insurance services to personal and commercial customers. In Northern Ireland the bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Ulster Bank Limited is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the British Bankers' Association. In Ireland, the bank is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland; the bank provides Visa Debit cards to customers with their current accounts, having issued Maestro and Laser debit cards to NI and ROI customers in addition to other financial services. It launched 15 new commitments to its retail customers in September 2010. Ulster Bank is used by RBS to deposit funds invested through the popular Royal Deposit Plan. From 1968 until 2005, Ulster Bank's logo was three chevrons – identical to that of the National Westminster Bank, its owner; the bank changed to the RBS "daisy wheel" logo and typeface style in October 2005. The bank is one of the four banks. In common with the other Big Four banks of Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank retains the right to issue its own banknotes; these are pound sterling notes and equal in value to Bank of England notes, should not be confused with banknotes of the former Irish pound.
Ulster Bank's current notes all share the same design of a view of Belfast harbour flanked by landscape views. The principal difference between the denominations is their size. Notes incorporate the RBS "daisy wheel" logo, having incorporated the NatWest chevrons until 2006. 5 pound note, grey 10 pound note, blue-green 20 pound note, purple 50 pound note, blueIn November 2006 Ulster Bank issued its first commemorative banknote – an issue of one million £5 notes commemorating the first anniversary of the death of former Northern Irish and Manchester United footballer, George Best. This was the first Ulster Bank banknote to incorporate the RBS "daisy wheel", the entire issue was taken by collectors within hours of becoming available in bank branches. In 2019, Ulster Bank will be issuing a new series of banknotes printed in polymer, will be replacing its paper equivalents in circulation. On 8 February 2008, Ulster Bank Group Chief Executive, Cormac McCarthy, announced a three-year sponsorship deal worth over £1m for the Belfast Festival at Queen's.
It was hailed as a "new dawn" for the festival, suffering unde