Five Ulster Bank branches to close

Published Tuesday, 01 July 2014
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Ulster Bank is closing five branches in Northern Ireland by November.

Five Ulster Bank branches to close
The branches will close over the next few months. (© PA)

The bank made the announcement on Tuesday, saying that the closures were being made in response to "changing customer behaviours in particular the use of mobile and online banking."

The branches closing are at Lisburn Road and Lombard Street, both in Belfast, Finaghy, Rathcoole and Hillsborough.

A statement from Ulster Bank said: "We continue to invest in these alternative banking channels to improve access to our services as reflected in our commitment to extend our services available through the Post Office this year.

"We will be contacting customers of these branches to inform them of alternative branch locations in their area and the range of banking services available on their mobiles, online, telephone and in post offices. We are also communicating directly with staff in those branches and there will be no additional job losses as a result of this announcement.

"Ulster Bank will retain the largest branch network in Northern Ireland, with 74 branches across Northern Ireland."

Seven branches and three sub-offices in the Republic are also closing.

Finance union, IBOA, has reacted strongly to the announcement.

IBOA General Secretary Larry Broderick said that the union is advising Ulster Bank customers to address any queries about the announcement - especially concerns about the level of service under the new arrangements - to senior executives at Ulster Bank's Head Office.

"As well as seeking clarification about this latest announcement, IBOA has also written to RBS Chief Executive, Ross McEwan, for clarification about the continuing speculation over the possibility that the Republic of Ireland operation may be subsumed into a new joint venture with a private equity company while Ulster Bank's Northern Ireland operation is set to become more closely integrated with RBS," he added.

"It is vital now that Ulster Bank and RBS clarify its future intentions for customers and staff as soon as possible.

"IBOA remains willing to continue to negotiate the terms of a comprehensive agreement on future change within Ulster Bank. But we need a degree of transparency from management to ensure that the outcome of these negotiations offers the best possible solution for all of the Bank's stake-holders - including staff and customers."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has described the Rathcoole branch closure as a huge blow for the area.

"Ulster Bank has provided a branch at The Diamond in Rathcoole for many decades. The announcement that this branch is closing will be a devastating blow for the local community.

"The loss of this essential service will be particularly felt by local residents who do not have access to their own transport, by senior citizens and by local businesses, churches and other organisations which make regular cash deposits," he said.

"This would mean that there is no bank branch within the Rathcoole housing estate."

The DUP MP said that he, and his party colleagues, are seeking an early meeting with Ulster Bank managers to press for a review of the decision.

"It is also essential that Ulster Bank offer individual advice sessions with their customers locally to talk through how their on-going banking needs can best be provided for."

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Craig in Lisburn wrote (149 days ago):
This will just put more pressure on staff at other branches which are busy enough. Not to mention the hassle people will have having to go further or into town to get to an Ulsterbank. Lisburn lost its Longstone St branch a while ago & now Hillsborough so Bow street which can be very busy are now the only branch in that area. Well done!
David in East Belfast wrote (150 days ago):
I've said it before and I say it again - this is European pressure on the banks to eventually have a cashless society. People are being 'forced' on line etc. Study your Bible prophecy and see that soon the European bank will be taken over by the 'beast' and the comment which people have laughed at will come into play, where you won't be able to buy or sell without the 'mark of the beast' - the European Bank. The beast will be the European President under the power of Satan. - Laugh or scorn if you like, but you have been warned again.
Coleraine in Coleraine wrote (150 days ago):
This bank is a joke! I was with them 25 years. Always there to charge and never helped me out. The u1st account is the biggest rip off that should be investigated. I went to lift money out of my account and the cashier said i have not much left in my account infront of customers. SO FOR THAT REASON IM OUT!!!
Michael Rooney in Brlfast wrote (150 days ago):
Ulster Bank closing their branches just use Santander at your local postoffice
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