Byline: Joe Downes
BANK of Ireland has taken the first steps in selling off its $1.8bn ([euro]1.26bn) American property loan book and its Manhattan office, in a bid to reduce its balance sheet.
The bank expects to hire advisers some time this week to oversee the sale, spokeswoman Anne Mathews confirmed.
She declined to say how much the bank expects to get for its loans, adding only that the East Coast U.S. property market has rebounded from its 2008 and 2009 lows and the Lehman Brothers-inspired financial crisis.
The Manhattan office, run by a seven-person team, manages commercial real estate loans in New York City, Washington DC and Boston.
The U.S. sale is part of the group's recently announced three-year deleveraging plan, Miss Mathews said. The lender expects to complete the divestment some time this year.
Bank of Ireland was told by regulators in March to reduce its loan book by about [euro]30bn, or 26pc, by the end of 2013.
Chief executive Richie Boucher said last month that the bank will sell about [euro]10bn of loans and wind down other holdings, including UK broker-sourced residential mortgages, to meet the target. …