AIB is looking to acquire €4 billion worth of Ulster Bank's performing corporate and commercial loans following NatWest’s decision to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland.

Ulster Bank has 1.1 million customers here, along with 2,800 staff and 88 branches

Today NatWest said it would begin an "orderly and considered" withdrawal from the market over the coming years and was in talks with a number of parties about different parts of its business.

As part of that AIB and Ulster Bank have entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding relating to the transfer of the loans, and the employees directly involved in the day-to-day management of the loan book.

In a statement AIB said there was no assurance that a deal would ultimately be made, or that acceptable terms would be agreed.

It said the potential deal remained subject to due diligence and further negotiation. It would also have to get internal, corporate and regulatory approval if it was to proceed.

AIB said it would update the market in due course about its talks around the loan book.