Business

Bank of Ireland to close more than half of NI branches

 Bank of Ireland is to cut more branches in the north.
Michelle Devane, PA and Digital Staff

Bank of Ireland is to close more than half of its branches in Northern Ireland. 

The move is part of bigger plan to close 103 branches across the island of Ireland – leaving it with 182 remaining branches.

The bank is reducing its network by 15 branches in Northern Ireland from 28 to 13. 

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

Some 88  of 257 outlets in the Republic will be closed, leaving 169.

It follows a deal with An Post to offer customers access to banking services at more than 900 locations.

Bank of Ireland said the majority of the branches that are closing are self-service locations which do not offer a counter service.

The bank will move its UK headquarters from London to Belfast.

The closures come after Ulster Bank’s parent company, NatWest, last month announced that it was withdrawing Ulster Bank from the Irish market.

Bank of Ireland group chief executive Francesca McDonagh said: “Technology is evolving and customers are using branches less, year on year on year.

“Covid-19 has accelerated this changing behaviour and we’ve seen a seismic shift towards digital banking over the past 12 months.”

Ms McDonagh said Bank of Ireland has reached a “tipping point” between online and offline banking, with its mobile app the most popular way to bank. In contrast the number of people visiting branches has “sharply declined” and is now just over half of what it was in 2017.

“We know news like this can cause concern for some customers and for the communities that we serve,” she added.

“We’re not making these changes immediately – no branches will close in the next six months.

“That allows us to ensure the An Post partnership is up and running before any branches close, and gives us time to communicate fully with all our customers about every option available to them online, in a nearby BOI branch, or at a local post office.”

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