20 Ulster Bank branches to close
Ulster Bank is to close “in the region of 20” branches and sub-offices in Ireland this year. The bank has not identified the outlets affected but it has indicated it will be making an announcement in the weeks ahead.
In a statement yesterday, it said it continued to keep its branch network under review and would communicate directly with customers and employees over the next few weeks.
Finance union IBOA has sought clarification. It said it would meet senior management next week. IBOA general secretary Larry Broderick said that while the possibility of branch closures had been on its negotiating agenda since Ulster Bank announced proposals for 950 job losses last January, up to yesterday it had not received any indication on a specific number.
“We are disappointed that the bank’s management chose to reveal their intentions in a teleconference to a relatively small number of staff – rather than in the course of the ongoing engagement with IBOA on the restructuring programme.
“The bank’s management had previously signalled that some reduction in its network would be necessary. However, it had not been ready to engage with us because of the need to review its plans in the light of its experiences of the major computer glitch during the summer.”
Ulster Bank has 146 branches in the Republic and 90 branches in the North.
The announcement of the closure of about 20 branches this year follows closures by other banks in 2012. AIB closed 44 branches in October. Last June, NIB, owned by Danske Bank, said it intended to close its 27 branches in the Republic.
“We hope next week’s meeting will mark the start of real engagement on the likely implications for customers, as well as staff,” Mr Broderick said. “While many staff in Ulster Bank have already expressed an interest in leaving the bank under the terms of the redundancy arrangements agreed with IBOA in the wake of last year’s announcement ... practical issues remain to be resolved.”