Outrage over historic bank closure

Published Thursday, 05 April 2012
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Residents in Newtownstewart are outraged over plans to close one of the village's most historic buildings - its only bank.

Outrage over historic bank closure
The bank was the scene of an infamous murder in 1871. (© UTV)

The Northern Bank has been in business for centuries but that will come to an end this June.

It is one of four rural branches set to close for being unsustainable.

The bank has a colourful history spanning hundreds of years - it was the scene of an infamous murder committed 140 years ago by a local policeman called Inspector Montgomery.

"It was the local policeman, during lunchtime he came in and murdered William Glass the bank cashier," explained local historian Ivor Scallon.

"He did a nasty piece of work and made off with a sum of £1,065."

A bloodstain from the time still remains there. Montgomery was eventually hanged for his crime and now it seems the bank's days are also numbered.

A statement from Northern Bank said: "We appreciate that the items of historical interest in the branch are of great interest locally.

"We can reassure people that we will ensure that these items are kept in the most appropriate and secure location. We are currently considering a number of different options for this."

A bypass has taken trade away from the once bustling Newtownstewart - now all banking will have to be done in Omagh or Strabane.

There are fears the closure could be the death knell for many businesses.

"We are kind of numbed by the news," said shop owner Martin McNamee.

"It's bad for future investment into the town - we want to encourage people into Newtownstewart and it's a great little town, but this is a real blow for us."

Meanwhile local people have reacted angrily to the prospect of losing another vital service.

One man told UTV: "I'm disgusted because to travel to Omagh, I have no car."

A woman said: "I think it's very bad to leave a town without a bank."

And another man said: "It's a historic building, but apart from that, it is also one of the best positions in the town."

The bloodstained counter where William Glass was killed will be store away and preserved, but now nothing can save the bank as another service in Newtownstewart is consigned to history.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Jamesbelfast in Belfast wrote (896 days ago):
Has anyone noticed that the banks and post offices seem to be closing branches in the more affluent areas of the country. The people from these very areas are the ones most likely to save and invest thus giving the banks, etc much needed cash flow yet they seem to be the first to loose their local facility.
george in ardfs wrote (896 days ago):
stuart in bangor. change banks, problem over.
Stuart in Bangor wrote (897 days ago):
I hate the way the Northern Bank is closing a lot of its branches. It means longer queue at the rest of the branches. I regularly go to the one in Bloomfield Shopping Centre but since the Ballyholme branch closed i usually have to wait an extra ten minutes in the queue.
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