The Lafferty Group has announced the creation of 40 jobs in educational and publishing activities for the banking industry in Westport in Co Mayo over the next 3 years.

The IDA Ireland supported venture will form part of a new business in retail banking by the London based group.

The International Academy of Retail Banking was set up by the Lafferty Group to provide specialist education in the financial industry.

Research and development for the academy programmes will be conducted in Westport.

The group's chairman Michael Lafferty said the academy had been set up to provide education and examinations for the retail banking sector as well as acting as an international professional body.

He said retail banking was fundamentally different from corporate and wholesale banking and that the academy was created in the belief that it should be a profession like accountancy and law.

He said banks that should get away from pushing products at customers and focus more on the overall customer relationship.

Announcing the jobs, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the announcement was great news for Mayo and that the Western region offered excellent opportunities to companies locating here.