Northern Bank

Northern Bank
Northern Bank Limited
Type Subsidiary of Danske Bank A/S
Industry Banking
Founded Belfast, Ireland (1824)
Headquarters Belfast, Northern Ireland
Area served Northern Ireland
Key people Peter Staarup, Chairman, Gerry Mallon, CEO
Products Various banking products
Owner(s) Danske Bank

Northern Bank (Irish: Banc na Thuaisceart), is a commercial bank in Northern Ireland. It is one of the oldest banks in Ireland having been formed in 1809.[1] Northern Bank is considered one of the leading retail banks in Northern Ireland with 82 branches and four finance centres.[2] It is also one of the four commercial banks which are permitted to issue their own banknotes in Northern Ireland.

Since 1 March 2005 Northern Bank has been owned by Danske Bank.



The company was founded in Belfast in 1809 as the Northern Banking Partnership.[3] The bank expanded across Ireland, opening its first branch in the south in 1840.[4]

In 1970, the Northern Banking Company Limited amalgamated with the Belfast Banking Company Limited to form what is now known as Northern Bank Limited.

Until 1988, the bank was a subsidiary of the Midland Bank, sharing Midland's branding and the Griffin logo. In 1986, the bank's operations were re-organised when its operations in the Republic of Ireland were separated from its Northern Ireland business into a subsidiary company called Northern Bank (Ireland) Limited.

In 1988, both Northern Bank Limited and Northern Bank (Ireland) Limited were acquired by National Australia Bank, after which the operations in Northern Bank (Ireland) Limited were renamed National Irish Bank. The Northern Bank brand name continued in Northern Ireland, but a new logo was introduced, a stylised "N" in a hexagon shape. In 2002, the bank's logotype (the word "Northern") was changed to match that of the National Australia Bank.

In December 2004, Danske Bank agreed to acquire Northern Bank (and National Irish Bank) for £967m. Don Price remained as CEO, but was later replaced by Gerry Mallon in June 2008.

In 2005 the Danish-based Danske Bank Group acquired the bank and has invested approximately £100m in Northern Bank.[5] As part of this process, National Irish Bank was separated from the Northern Bank and given its own dedicated management team. Both Northern & National Irish Bank also migrated over to Danske Bank's technology platform with a centralised contact centre set up to deal with all incoming calls to the branches of both banks. Both banks have also adopted a variation of the Danske Bank logo as their corporate identities. This occurred on 18 April 2006 with the bank's website displaying the new logo as early as 14 April and at least one branch being refitted on Easter Sunday, 16 April.

In 2008, Northern Bank announced the appointment of Angela McGowan as Chief Economist.[6] Northern Bank also embarked on a £3m investment programme to upgrade facilities at three of its Northern Ireland branches.[7]

Today[as of?], Northern Bank remains well positioned and undoubtedly one of the strongest local banks to emerge from the recession.[8] In the last year[as of?], the bank has increased its mortgage lending by six per cent and was recently awarded a four star Best Buy award from financial comparison website Moneyfacts for its base rate tracker mortgage.[9]


A £20 Northern Bank note (this version was withdrawn in 2005).
A current £20 Northern Bank note.

In common with the other Big Four banks of Northern Ireland, the Northern Bank retains the right to issue its own banknotes. These are pound sterling notes and equal in value to Bank of England notes, and should not be confused with banknotes of the former Irish pound.

Most Northern Bank banknotes feature an illustration on the reverse side of the portico of Belfast City Hall, sculpted by F. W. Pomeroy. The front of most notes depict a range of notable people associated with industry in Northern Ireland. The designs currently in circulation are:[10]

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK to have issued a plastic banknote. This is the Northern Bank's Year 2000 commemorative £5 banknote, which was printed in Australia.

2005 reissue

Following the £26.5 million robbery in 2004 (see below), Northern Bank announced on 7 January 2005 that all its notes were to be recalled and reissued in different colours and styles, and using the bank's new logo. The reissue began on 14 March 2005 and was scheduled to take one month; old notes remain exchangeable at branches of Northern Bank.

The principal colours of Northern Bank notes of greater than £5 face value were changed with the 2005 reissue, and are now (former colour in brackets):

  • £10 green (brown)
  • £20 blue (purple)
  • £50 purple (green)
  • £100 red (black)

The 'N' monogram logo displayed on these new notes is now itself out of date; the bank's current logo is taken from Northern's new parent company, Danske Bank.


On 20 December 2004 the cash centre at the bank's headquarters in Belfast was raided, and £26.5 million stolen. Most of this consisted of uncirculated Northern Bank notes, as well as millions in used notes. There was also over a million pounds in other currencies. The police and government as well as other major political figures in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland accused the Provisional Irish Republican Army of being responsible.

On 9 October 2008 the trial of the only man to be charged with the robbery collapsed when Chris Ward, 26, was found not guilty.[12]


[1] [2] [5] [6] [7] [9] [13]

  1. ^ a b article on banks on Europe
  2. ^ a b original article from Northern Ireland chamber of commerce
  3. ^ "History". Northern Bank. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  4. ^ "History". National Irish Bank. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  5. ^ a b creditable reference brand republic
  6. ^ a b article written by Northern Bank announcing appointment of Angela McGowan
  7. ^ a b creditable source highlighting £3m investment by Northern Bank in its facilities
  8. ^ article about Northern Bank written in the Belfast Telegraph 30 April 2010
  9. ^ a b article from original source referenced moneyfacts
  10. ^ "Northern Ireland". Ron Wise's Banknoteworld. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  11. ^ "Irish Scientists and Inventors". Irish Patents Office. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  12. ^ BBC £26m bank robbery trial collapses
  13. ^ article about Northern Bank written in the Belfast Telegraph 30 april 2010

External links

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