The bank said it was starting to phase out new products and services it offer customers.

It will no longer offer business banking products to non-Ulster Bank customers from today with the exception of Lombard Asset Finance which remains open for new and existing customers.

“If business customers have already applied for a product, or started the onboarding process as a new customer, we will continue to process that for customers,” the bank said in a statement.

Ulster Bank said it would it accept applications from new and existing personal banking customers until October 29th.

Mortgages will be available to existing customers only after that date.

There are other exceptions, most notably relating to overdrafts for existing customers, and applications which are in progress prior to October 30th.

Ulster Bank is writing to existing customers to give them 60 days’ notice of this change.

“Today is another significant milestone and an expected step in the progress of our phased withdrawal,” Jane Howard, CEO of Ulster Bank said.

“Our colleagues will continue to serve our customers throughout this phase and beyond, including those customers who need more support due to the nature of the product. We are writing to all existing personal customers to give them the details of this change and to give them 60 days’ advance notice to ensure that they have ample time to consider their needs.”

The announcement was made as the bank reported a significant narrowing of its first half operating loss to €7 million from €276 million in the same period last year.

The bank recorded a net impairment release of €13 million reflecting improvements in its mortgage portfolio.

It had put aside €278 million this time last year to cover potential loan losses arising from the pandemic.

Total income declined by €6 million, or 2.1%, compared with the first half of 2020, primarily reflecting lower lending levels and fee income as a result of the continued impact of the pandemic, but also the recent announcement to commence a phased withdrawal from the market here.

Net loan to customers were down by €600 million, or 3%.

Customer deposits were down by €200 million, or just below 1%.