Bank of Ireland tight-lipped on NI branch closures

Bank of Ireland could be set to cut more branches in the north.
Ryan McAleer

BANK of Ireland has declined to confirm reports it is set to close some of its 28 branches in the north.

The lender is preparing to scale back operations north of the border, according to the Irish Times.

The newspaper cited sources that said an ongoing strategic review of its Northern Ireland operation is nearing completion.

The bank currently employs around 600 people in the north, with around 200,000 customers.

Group chief executive Francesca McDonagh said in the summer that “all options” were on the table for its retail operation in the north.

Details of the outcome of that review are not expected to be put into the public domain until the start of March.

In a statement yesterday, Bank of Ireland said: "The strategic review is ongoing and, as previously stated, we will provide an update at full year results."

But according to the Irish Times, branch closures will form part of its cost-cutting plans in Northern Ireland. Although a final decision has yet to be made.

The lender last closed a branch during the summer, when it pulled the shutters down on its outlet on Belfast's High Street, moving around 15 staff to its new flagship headquarters at Donegall Square South.

Bank of Ireland's branch network stood at 45 in 2013. But successive culls have cut the number down to just 28.

Meanwhile another ongoing strategic review by Ulster Bank's parent group Natwest could put a significant number of jobs at risk in the north.

The Financial Services Union has said winding up the Ulster Bank operation in the Republic is one option being considered.

Around 600 Ulster Bank employees in Belfast work directly in support of the southern operation.

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