Allied Irish Banks to axe 2,000 jobs

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) is to axe more than 2,000 jobs by the end of next year, it has announced.

The group recorded a 10.4 billion euro (£9.2 billion) loss last year and claimed business and market conditions remained difficult.

It said costs needed to be lowered, with staff to go on a phased basis during 2011 and 2012.

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The 10.4 billion euro (£9.2 billion) loss last year compares with 2.3 billion euro (£2 billion) in 2009.

AIB, once Ireland’s largest bank but now 92.8 per cent state-owned, needs another 13.3 billion euro (£11.7 billion) bailout after the results of long-awaited stress tests.

The Irish Government plans to shrink the state’s creaking banking sector from six homegrown lenders to two so-called pillar banks.

AIB and EBS Building Society will merge to form one banking “pillar”, while Bank of Ireland will form the second.

AIB employs around 12,000 staff through its Irish divisions, with another 2,507 in its UK operations.

The bank said the commitment of further state support highlights its systemic importance to the domestic Irish economy.

“The very strong capital base that will result from the generation of 13.3 billion euro (£11.7 billion) of capital will enable AIB to provide long-term support to its customers and play an active role in the recovery of the Irish economy,” the bank said in a commentary on the results.

Some 7.2 billion euro (£6.4 billion) in state support has already been pumped into the bank.

David Hodgkinson, AIB executive chairman, said the job losses would be spread across the organisation as the bank needs to “slim down”.

“We expect to get the vast majority on a voluntary basis,” he said.

“The first thing we have to do is to agree with our major stakeholder, the Government, on what is appropriate and then we will start the consultation period with the union.”