Cowen: Bank closure 'part of worldwide restructuring'

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said he regrets the decision of Halifax Bank of Scotland to close its retail banking operation in Ireland with the loss of 750 jobs.

Mr Cowen said the closure is "part of a worldwide restructuring of the banking sector" and is due to the organisation leaving non-profitable countries.

The bank - which is owned by Lloyds - informed staff of the decision at 3pm this afternoon.

It is closing its 44 retail branches across the country and its call centre in Dundalk in Co. Louth.

It says it will no longer be offering products in the Irish market but existing mortgage holders will be catered for.

Mr Cowen said he doesn't expect the decision to result in widespread job losses across the banking sector here.

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