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Ulster Bank to close nine branches across Northern Ireland


Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank is to close nine branches across Northern Ireland starting in September this year.

The branches to close include Holywood, Warrenpoint, Dunmurry, Antrim, Ballymoney, Larne, Comber, Maghera and Clougher.

The bank said the move was prompted by shifting customer behaviour “to mobile and online banking” and said close to 90% of the needs of their retail banking customers can be met by online services.

They also said all the branch closures are within one mile of a free to use ATM and said customers can still use the services offered by the Post Office to withdraw and deposit cash at any of their branches.

An Ulster Bank spokesperson said: “As with many industries, most of our customers are shifting to mobile and online banking, because it’s faster and easier for people to manage their financial lives.

“We understand and recognise that digital solutions aren’t right for everyone or every situation, and that when we close branches we have to make sure that no one is left behind.

“We take our responsibility seriously to support the people who face challenges in moving online, so we are investing to provide them with support and alternatives that work for them.”

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TUV leader Jim Allister said he was disappointed in the closure of the Ballymoney branch and cited the potential impact on the elderly population in the area.

“The nearest local branch will now be in Coleraine. With elderly folk often having to rely on public transport to get around this will mean that many who have grown used to doing their banking face to face will find it difficult to access a service they are comfortable with.

"I also obviously have concerns about the impact this will have on Ulster Bank employees.”

DUP North Antrim MP Ian Paisley also expressed concern over the “further stripping back of the banking network across Northern Ireland”.

He urged Ulster Bank to “think again” over their decision to close the Ballymoney branch.

“The Ballymoney branch serves a wide rural area and will leave many customers without access to banking services. Despite improving access to broadband, there are still many older customers in particular who rely heavily on their local branch and this closure will particularly impact them,” Mr Paisley added.

The bank said their Customer Care telephone team and Customer Support Specialists are able to provide “tailored support” for vulnerable customers and added that there is a dedicated vulnerable customer telephone line with shorter waiting times available.

Earlier this month it was revealed by Danske Bank they are planning to close four of their branches in Northern Ireland in September.

Danske said the branches would be closed in Lurgan, Cookstown, Kilkeel and Fivemiletown and said they would close on Friday, September 16.

The bank claimed the closures come amid changing customer patterns in the use of bank branches and said they “do not make these decisions lightly”.

The closures of the branches will also see the removal of several ATM devices.

The ATMs at Cookstown, Kilkeel and Lurgan will be removed on September 16, with the cash machine at Fivemiletown will be removed on January 31, 2023.