Ulster Bank Northern Ireland is seeking up to 40 redundancies as transactions in its branches continue to decline.
The lender, part of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and which operates separately from Ulster Bank in the Republic, has about 2,000 employees.
“We have to respond to changing customer behaviour and the rising customer demand for digital banking services. We have taken the decision to invite applications for voluntary redundancy and will support those colleagues who apply with a comprehensive support package,” a spokesman for the Belfast-based company said. “There will be no compulsory redundancy as a result of this announcement.”
Ulster Bank Northern Ireland had 85 branches in 2009 before lenders across the industry started to slash costs during the financial crisis. It currently has 44 locations. There are no plans to reduce its network further as part of the latest cost-cutting effort.
The Financial Services Union (FSU) said it was “strongly opposed” to the redundancies, whether for permanent, contract or agency workers, and have called for a redundancy pause for at least 12 months.
“We believe that the sector is currently understaffed. We can see the widespread use of agency, on-call and contract workers, as well as outsourcing arrangements, which clearly indicate understaffing,” said John O’Connell, FSU general secretary. “Any reduction in staffing of branches will have knock-on effects for customers, potentially adding delays and undermining local services.”