THE owner of Royal Bank of Scotland owner has struck a deal to offload the commercial lending book of Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland.

NatWest Group announced to the stock market this morning that it has agreed to sell around €4.2 billion of gross performing commercial lending, and associated undrawn exposures of about €2.8bn, to Allied Irish Banks.

The sale is part of NatWest’s planned withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Republic of Ireland, which the bank announced on February 19.

NatWest expects around 280 members of staff to transfer from Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland, with the final number of roles confirmed as the deal completes.

The bank, which remains nearly 60 per cent owned by UK taxpayers, estimates that a small gain on disposal will be recognised, based on the net carrying value of the lending on December 31, 2020.

Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, said: “In line with our strategy of a phased withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland, I am pleased that we have now reached agreement with AIB on the sale of the majority of Ulster Bank's performing commercial lending portfolio.  Our priority remains to support our customers and colleagues through this period.”