A row has broken out between the Financial Services Union (FSU) and Bank of Ireland over plans to close eight of the bank’s 36 branches in the North.
Branches in Castlereagh, Draperstown, Antrim, Belleek, Castlederg, Newtownards, Maghera, and Belfast are earmarked for closure, though the City Hall branch will house a new outlet to service business startups.
The bank said the closures were required as more of its customers were banking online. More than 50 staff would be offered the chance to transfer, redeploy, or apply for voluntary redundancy. Business in the Republic would not be affected.
However, Larry Broderick, general secretary at the FSU, said the closures were “irresponsible”.
“The decision by Bank of Ireland to announce eight branch closures and over 50 redundancies is not only regrettable, but irresponsible given the impact it will have on customers and staff, he said.
“Given that Bank of Ireland is expected to announce significant profits at the end of the month, this announcement is a kick in the teeth for both customers and staff in Northern Ireland who supported the bank during the financial crisis,” he said.
Bank of Ireland said its remaining 28 branches will offer “integrated online, phone and mobile banking, and complemented by experienced and professional branch adviser teams”.
“Eight existing branches where the volume of business is insufficient to sustain them in the long-term will close.
"These branches account for about 6% of the business conducted by the network in Northern Ireland,” it said.
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