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Ulster Bank to open city branch... on bank holiday

By Claire McNeilly

Published 28/05/2016

The bank's Donegall Square East branch will be open from 10am until 1pm on Monday
The bank's Donegall Square East branch will be open from 10am until 1pm on Monday

It could only happen in Northern Ireland - a bank opening on a bank holiday.

For the first time ever, that is exactly what Ulster Bank plans to do this Monday in its Belfast city centre branch.

Its Donegall Square East bank - located at the company's headquarters - will be open for business from 10am until 1pm on the spring Bank Holiday.

Some customers yesterday said they appreciated Ulster Bank's flexibility, particularly as most other financial institutions will be closed, in keeping with the long-standing tradition. Others, though, said they felt the plan to stay open, which was publicised on social media , was announced too late for most people to take advantage.

"Nobody expects a bank to be open on a bank holiday, so I don't see the staff who have to work in that particular branch on Monday being inundated with customers," one man told the Belfast Telegraph.

"On the other hand, it might be a good time for someone who has particular business to attend to, to take advantage of a quiet day and call in."

A customer who asked not to be named said she did not see the point of staffing one branch for a couple of hours in the morning, although she also welcomed the move.

"I understand that Ulster Bank wants to be seen to be offering us special treatment - and I guess that's a good thing - but I can't help thinking it's a bit unnecessary at the same time," she explained.

Ulster Bank tweeted a graphic to explain its new stance regarding the branch opening its doors on Bank Holiday Monday. The message read: "All branches are closed on Monday May 30, 2016, for a bank holiday, except our Belfast city office: Open 10am-1pm."

An Ulster Bank spokesman confirmed that the bank would be opening on Monday in line with the business's commitment to providing "help for what matters" for its customers across the city.

Two months ago, Ulster Bank customers hit out after the St Patrick's Day bank holiday led to delays in processing wages,

At the time, a spokesman said the problem arose because March 17 was a non-banking day in Northern Ireland but a normal banking day in Great Britain.

Last year, an IT glitch left some customers unable to access their accounts, following a similar problem in 2012.

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