Branches of banks 'must be kept safe'
Securing the future of the banking sector in Northern Ireland must be a priority for the Assembly following the election next month, it's been claimed.
The Financial Services Union said the Assembly needed to manage the implications of Brexit for the sector and ensure that communities have continued access to banking.
Larry Broderick, general secretary of the FSU, said banks should ensure that every locality has access to a branch.
He added: "We firmly believe that banking and financial services can be a growth area for the Northern Ireland economy - providing sustainable, well-rewarded careers. To make this a reality, we believe it is critical for the new Assembly to play a central role in setting out a long-term vision for the sector."
But factors including Brexit and increased competitiveness in the global economy posed challenges for the future of banking.
As the FSU launched its policy document, Mr Broderick said: "We need a vision and a strategy for the sector if it is to grow and add to the economy."
And he added the province needed to plan for how it can continue attracting 'near-shore' activity by major firms which locate parts of their business here.
"We need to plan now for how we retain and expand the numbers employed in this sector."