Business

Danske Bank to close four more branches from September

Danske Bank will close it branches in Cookstown, Kilkeel, Fivemiletown and Lurgan on September 16
Gary McDonald Business Editor

DANSKE Bank is shutting four more branches this autumn, leaving the lender with just 28 outlets in the north, almost half of the 51-strong estate it had in 2010.

Its operations in Lurgan, Cookstown, Kilkeel and Fivemiletown will close on Friday September 16.

ATMs at three of those branches will be also be removed on that date, although the cash point in Fivemiletown will continue to operate until the end of next January.

Danske Bank - which in the first three months of this year increased its profits by 6 per cent to £16.7 million on an improved income of £53.5m - said there will be no redundancies as a result of the four branch closures.

Aisling Press, the bank's managing director of personal banking, said: “The world around us is changing constantly, and the world of banking changes with it.

“Alongside that, the needs and expectations of our customers evolve, and in the last number of years, the way customers use branches has changed considerably. Now, many are choosing to use alternative ways of banking with us, such as our digital solutions, online banking, app or banking on the telephone.

“As a business, we have to respond to these changes and part of that is reviewing and adapting how we invest in customer solutions for the future.”

South Down MLA Colin McGrath said the closure of the Kilkeel branch would be “a serious blow” to the community there.

“Kilkeel is a coastal town in a rural area, and the people who rely on this bank for a wide variety of services face a long trek to find an alternative.

“While I understand that greater numbers of people are opting for online banking, a large number of people still prefer to use a physical bank, including our older population, many of whom have not transitioned to using online services.

“This is the latest in a number of bank closures in this area in recent years and if we don't find a way forward we face the disappearance of physical banking from our towns and villages in the not-too-distant future.”

Ms Press added: “Through transformational upgrades, we have invested £6 million in 25 branches across Northern Ireland over the past six years and we continually look for new opportunities to develop and invest in our technology to better serve our customers in our branches and across our other channels.”

“Sometimes, unfortunately, we also need to make difficult decisions to close certain branches that are being used less and are no longer sustainable. We do not make these decisions lightly.”

Danske has written to customers of each branch to assure them that it remains committed to continuing to meet their banking needs, and to share the different ways they can continue to bank with the company.

Through the bank's relationship with the Post Office, customers with a debit card can check their account balances, withdraw cash and make personal or business cash lodgements at any UK Post Office.

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