Danske Bank to shut Larne and Ballynahinch branches in October
DANSKE Bank is to shut two more of its Northern Ireland branches later this year – Larne and Ballynahinch - to reduce its portfolio to 42.
They will pull down the shutters on October 12, though Danske insists there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the closures.
It comes as a new report from David Black, a banking and financial services insight analyst, predicts that despite some 879 bank branches closing across the UK last year, a further 2,400 could still shut, which represents more than 25 per cent of the remaining network of bank and building society branches.
And it coincides with a study by Which? finding that ATM cash machines around the UK have been shutting down at a rate of 300 every month.
When Danske Bank's latest closures take effect, it will slash the branch footprint of the four indigenous banks in the north from around 250 a decade ago to just 129. Ulster Bank will be the biggest with 44 branches followed by Danske on 42, Bank of Ireland 28 and First Trust 15.
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 with us, such as digital or telephone banking. As a business, we must respond to these changes, therefore priorities for investment will adapt and change.
“Sometimes this can mean investing more in certain key branches - like the transformational upgrades we have carried out across nine different local branch locations over the past two years. On other occasions it means taking hard decisions to close branches. We do not take such decisions lightly."
He added: “I have written to customers of the LArne and Ballynahinch branches to assure them that we remain committed to continuing to meet their banking needs and to inform them about the many different ways to bank with us.
"Over the coming weeks we will be organising support sessions for any customers needing further guidance. If any of our customers are concerned, I would encourage them to speak to us - we will do everything we can to help them.”
Danske Bank says it continues to invest in both its digital channels and its day-to-day banking services. Seventeen of its branches are open on Saturdays, while advisers are also available on the telephone from Monday to Sunday and in the evenings.