22 Ulster Bank branches to close – several of which are in rural Ireland

Ulster Bank has announced today that it will close 22 of its branches across the country, in what is being seen as a further hit on rural Ireland.

The move will result in about 220 redundancies at Ulster Bank’s Irish operation.

While many of the branches are in Dublin and other major cities and towns, several are in smaller rural towns, including Edenderry in Offaly, Edgeworthstown in Longford, Ballymote in Sligo and Carrickmacross in Monaghan.

88 branches will remain in the Republic of Ireland following the closures, which will likely take place between June and September of this year.

According to the bank, an average of 30 customers per day used each of the affected branches during the past week.

The bank has said that the closures are due to a trend, whereby customers are moving from ‘traditional’ in-branch transactions towards the use of digital and online platforms.

Ulster Bank Chief Executive, Gerry Mallon, said: “Closing a branch is a difficult decision which we do not take lightly, and our branch network remains an important part of how we serve our customers.

However, the role of the branch continues to move toward advice and away from day-to-day transactions, with only 10% of our customer interactions now happening in branch.

“These changes to right-size our business mean that while we will create a number of new roles, we will reduce our number of roles across Ulster Bank by approximately 220 during 2017. We will manage these changes in line with our existing process with the FSU (Financial Services Union).

“The way in which our customers bank with us is changing radically and rapidly. In 2016, 62% of customer interactions were digital. We saw a 22% increase in active users of our mobile app and our ‘Get Cash’ facility was used over 2,000 times a week.”