Danske closes two more branches amid inexorable march towards digital banking

Danske Bank will close its branches at Antrim Road and Connswater in Belfast from next April
Gary McDonald Business Editor

DANSKE Bank plans to close its Antrim Road and Connswater branches in Belfast from next April, reducing total number of branches in the north to 44.

The business done at both banks will transfer to Danske's flagship branch at Donegall Square West in the city centre.

The bank says it has written to customers of Antrim Road and Connswater to assure them that it "remains committed to continuing to meet their banking needs" and to inform them about the many different ways to bank today.

Over the coming weeks Danske says it will be organising customer support sessions for any customers needing further guidance or who are concerned about the move to speak to any member of the branch team.

Danske's decision is part of a sustained reduction in the number of bank branches operating in Northern Ireland over the last decade in a change driven by the adoption of technology, particularly the internet, and the reduction in the use of cash.

Between the four traditional clearing banks in the north, almost 100 branches have been axed in the last decade amid the inexorable march towards digital banking.

And the Irish News understands that another major closure announcement is expected early in the new year from one of the local 'big four' which will affect at least a dozen retail branches.

Richard Caldwell, Danske Bank’s managing director of personal banking & small business, said: “The way customers use branches has changed significantly in recent years. Many are now choosing to use different ways to bank, such as mobile or online banking.

"As a business, we must respond to these changes, therefore priorities for investment will adapt and change. While this can mean investing in upgrading or relocating a branch, sometimes it is necessary to close branches, and we do not take such decisions lightly.

“We will do everything we can to help those customers impacted at our Antrim Road and Connswater branches.”

In October Danske Bank, which has 1,400 staff, reported an operating profit of £75 million for the nine months to the end of September - up 8 per cent year-on-year as both customer lending and deposit volumes grew.

It also saw its loan impairments plummet from £38m to £23m, underlining a continuing recovery in property values and in the trading results of its business customers

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