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AIB announces eight branches to close in Northern Ireland


AIB headquarters in Belfast.

AIB headquarters in Belfast.

Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald

Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald


AIB headquarters in Belfast.

AIB has announced it will be closing eight of its branches in Northern Ireland later this year, leaving it with just seven.

In a statement, the bank said the decision was taken after a strategic review which saw a 33% dip in the amount of customers using its branch network and a 52% increase in digital online payments since the end of 2017.

The branches closing in November are Bangor, Coleraine, Glengormley, Kilkeel, Lisburn, Lurgan, Newcastle and Omagh.

Remaining open will be the AIB branches in Ballymena, Donegall Square North in Belfast, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Meadowbank, Newry and University Road in Belfast.

AIB added that its partnership with the Post Office had witnessed an 84% increase in the level of customers using their facilities.

The move has been criticised by Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald who said it was another blow to the local economy after other banks announced branch closures.

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"My thoughts are with the workers affected by this announcement and their families, it is always difficult to get news of closures but this remains a very challenging time as the uncertainty of the pandemic continues,” she said

"This news will also be concerning for AIB customers including small businesses, particularly where the branch is the last bank in the town.

"Sinn Fein supports the Financial Services Union calls for a moratorium on branch closures during the pandemic and for a forum on the future of banking.

"I will be seeking a meeting with AIB and with the Financial Services Union to discuss these closures and their impact in full."

The bank has stated it will be mitigating any job losses through alternative opportunities where possible, and that a voluntary severance programme would also be available.

AIB said the pandemic had accelerated a trend for customers to move away from using branches but that it would continue to offer a full service offering.

Customers will continue to be served in seven remaining branches and new options will include remote account opening for personal customers and a digital mortgage offering.

AIB said the ongoing partnership with the Post Office meant customers could conduct their everyday banking in over 500 Post Offices in Northern Ireland, all of which are within a mile of any of the branches that are closing.

Customers will be written to with advice on the alternative ways to bank.

Brian Gillan, Head of Retail & NI at AIB, said: “We assure customers that we remain fully committed to them and to Northern Ireland, providing them with a full service personal and business banking offering alongside an enhanced focus on both business and mortgage lending.

"Our priority is to ensure the bank has a sustainable future in Northern Ireland, which allows us to support our customers and play our part in strengthening the wider economy.”