Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank planning to axe around 50 jobs

By John Mulgrew

Ulster Bank is set to cut around 50 jobs across Northern Ireland and is to close a number of its branches on Saturdays.

Staff have been told the jobs are set to go and Ulster Bank has said it is offering employees the opportunity to "apply for a small number of redundancies on a strictly voluntary basis".

It will also end Saturday opening hours at several of its branches as of next month.

They include Armagh, Ballymena, Bangor, Coleraine, Downpatrick, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Magherafelt, Newtownards, Omagh and Portadown.

The IBOA union said the latest development will only exacerbate existing difficulties.

It said: "Staff in retail banking are the human face of Ulster Bank who engage directly with customers every minute of every day.

"They know the challenges customers face and do their utmost to help and provide quality service to customers.

"Reducing the number of staff in these crucial roles is not sustainable in the long term. It is being driven by a short-term cost-cutting agenda."

A spokesman for Ulster Bank said: "As part of our ongoing efforts to build a strong and sustainable bank, we are offering members of our branch staff the opportunity to apply for a small number of redundancies on a strictly voluntary basis."

The announcement of cuts at Ulster Bank comes just a day after parent company Royal Bank of Scotland revealed it was slashing jobs across its business.

Around 600 jobs are being axed and 32 branches closed at RBS in the latest jobs cull at the state-backed lender.

The losses will impact its retail banking division, with around 200 roles going across London and the South East and almost 400 being cut in the Midlands, East and the North, according to trade union Unite.

It said the cuts come as 32 RBS branches are being shut, with many more seeing their opening hours reduced.

The union said 220 branches are changing their opening hours across the North, while 94 are seeing hours reduced in the Midlands and East.

Its latest job losses mean RBS has axed 1,500 roles so far this year.

The lender racked up its eighth year in a row of annual losses in 2015, posting a deficit of £2bn.

As well as its efforts to make savings, RBS is also shutting branches as more people bank online, a trend which is changing the entire UK retail banking industry.

Belfast Telegraph