Local Ulster Bank branches escape closure

January 21, 2013

By Christine Keighery

Amid the doom and gloom of recent high street closures, Ulster Bank staff in Newry, Newtownhamilton and Tandragee breathed a collective sigh of relief with the news that the branches were to remain open.

Ulster Bank confirmed last week that twenty two branches and sub-offices would be closing across Ireland, with eleven located in Northern Ireland to be closed by June this year.

The bank, which is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, currently has 146 branches in the Republic of Ireland and 90 in Northern Ireland. Last January, plans to cut the workforce in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by 950 staff, were announced, with 350 of those jobs due to go in Northern Ireland.

After weeks of uncertainty for staff, the beleaguered bank revealed the branches and sub offices set for closure on both sides of the border just last week and confirmed there would be no additional job losses as a result of the announcement.

Larry Broderick of the Irish Bank Officials Association said,

“Staff throughout Ulster Bank have worked strenuously to restore the bank’s reputation, especially in the wake of the catastrophic IT malfunction last year – which created major difficulties for hundreds of thousands of customers,” he said.

“They are naturally concerned about any developments that might undermine customer confidence.”

Newry & Armagh Ulster Unionist MLA, Danny Kennedy expressed his relief that local branches had escaped the closures.

“These branches provide an important service to the local community and local businesses. It was a sensible decision to retain these branches.

“However this news is also tempered by the fact that eleven other Ulster Bank branches across Northern Ireland will be closed.”