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Co-operative Bank confirms it's closing Belfast branch

By Rachel Martin

Published 21/01/2016

The Co-Operative bank in Donegall Square in Belfast. Pic Kevin Scott
The Co-Operative bank in Donegall Square in Belfast. Pic Kevin Scott

The Co-operative Bank has announced it is to close its Belfast branch.

The branch closed at 3pm today while the news was broken to staff members.

It's understood the branch will shut its doors for good in June.

The Co-operative Bank has a small market share in here, with its current accounts making up less than 5% percent of the market in Northern Ireland.

The Belfast branch's future was first highlighted as under threat in 2013 when Co-operative announced it planned to close 50 branches. Last year, the bank closed 68 branches.

Liam Coleman, director of retail and commercial, at Co-operative Bank, said: “The decision to close our branch in Belfast has not been taken lightly and we understand some customers will be disappointed, but this change is part of our ongoing business plan to turn the Bank around by restructuring and modernising the Bank into a simpler, sustainable and more efficient business. Unfortunately, part of that denotes closing branches where the number of transactions has declined significantly, means it is simply no longer sustainable.

“We are writing to affected customers and, although there are no other Co-operative Bank branches in the local area, we want to reassure them of the steps we are taking to ensure they can continue to access their accounts and receive the high levels of service that they expect from us.”

He said that customers could continue to access their accounts by telephone, online and mobile banking facilities. He added that there were three Post Office branches within one mile of the branch where customers can undertake most day-to-day banking transactions.

Mr Coleman continued: “As we seek to return the Bank to a position of strength we must continue to modernise the business based on the demands of customers today. Our aim remains to provide branches where we know they are well used and we are investing further in our digital offering to provide customers with new, innovative ways to service their accounts as the trend for consumers to move their day to day transactions online accelerates.”

Share prices for the bank were selling at £113.00 and had started to rise again after they were dashed from £121 in June.

Co-operative Bank has already seen mixed fortunes this year.

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