| 12.9°C Belfast

Danske Bank to pull down shutters at four NI branches in October


Danske Bank is shutting four branches here later this year, the lender has announced. 

The lender is pulling down the shutters on October 22 at branches in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone, Hillsborough in Co Down, Mallusk in Co Antrim and at University Road in Belfast.

The closures will leave it with 32 branches in NI.

Research by the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year found that more than half of all the branches operated by the main banks in Northern Ireland had closed in the last decade.

When Danske’s latest branch closures are included, the total number of “big four” branches owned by Ulster Bank, Danske Bank, Bank of Ireland and AIB will be 104 - compared to 236 in 2010.

Danske said there would not be any compulsory or voluntary redundancies as a result of the closures, with affected staff to be relocated.

In December, banking union the FSU said the bank had committed to not making any redundancies, compulsory or voluntary, for two years.

Weekly Business Digest

Margaret Canning’s selection of the must-read business stories straight to your inbox every Tuesday morning

This field is required

Aisling Press, Danske Bank’s managing director of personal banking, said customers were increasingly using online banking, the app or phone banking instead of bank branches.

“As a business, we must respond to these changes. This can mean reviewing, and adapting, our investment strategies – sometimes it will include investing more in key branches.

“Through transformational upgrades, we have invested over £5.5m in 19 branches across Northern Ireland over the past number of years and we continually look for new opportunities to develop our technology to serve our customers.

“We are currently planning our next phase of upgrades to key branches across our network and will be investing further in our local branches this year.

“As a prudent business, we also need to make difficult decisions to close certain branches that are being used less and are no longer sustainable.

"We do not make these decisions lightly.”

She said she had written to customers at each branch to reassure them the bank would maintain their accounts.

But Ulster Unionist councillor John Palmer said the closure of the Hillsborough branch would be a major blow to the village.

“This will be very disappointing news for all local Danske customers, but will have the most serious impact on those who do not have access to their own transport or who cannot easily make the journey into Lisburn to conduct their banking business.

“They will be looking to make alternative arrangements, and having spoken to the manager of Hillsborough Post Office, I am pleased to say that he is confident they can provide a full service for new and existing customers.”

The bank said it was continuing to invest in online channels and day-to-day banking, including spending on technology to allow customers to talk to personal bankers on video meetings.

And it said customers could also use their debit card to check their account balances, withdraw cash and make personal or business cash lodgments at any UK Post Office.