Concern over Bank of Ireland closures

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Concern has been expressed over the closure of two Bank of Ireland branches in Derry.

SDLP MP Mark Durkan says the closure of the Waterside and Shipquay Street branches raises concerns for staff, customers and local businesses.

“As well as the implications for staff and their families we have to consider the implications for customers and local businesses in terms of quality and the accessibility of service they can expect in the wake of this announcement.

“This is further evidence of change in the service profile of the banking sector in the aftermath of all the issues of recent years.

“I have said before that we need to be looking at questions that are not just about the ‘banking of business’ but also look at the future of the ‘business of banking’ in the North given the further changes coming from new regulatory set-ups in London and the implications of banking union for Irish banks.

“We can’t just watch a shake-out by default which creates gaps in markets, patchier services and poorer choices for people here.

“As before, I will be working with the Finance Union – the Irish Bank Official’s Association (IBOA) – in terms of the direct implications for staff and will want to reflect the concerns of customers – not least local businesses – who will have concerns about the support and rapport that they can expect from the Bank of Ireland in the future.”

Sinn Fein MLA Maeve McLaughlin says she is shocked by the branch closures.

“The Bank of Ireland on Shipquay Street has been right in the heart of our city centre for many years ,and the news of its closure is unfortunate, particularly as Derry gears up for City of Culture 2013 and the expected influx of visitors many of whom who no doubt will be looking for banking services,” she says.

“Its closure could also have a knock-on effect for other businesses on the street and footfall through the area.It is also the loss of another business on Spencer Road, an area which has been hit hard in recent years with the economic downturn.

“It is important that any staff affected by these closures will be redeployed to other branches and receive their full entitlements.”

The bank says it will merge the two branches with the main Strand Road branch and redeploy the 13 affected staff in Derry.

Nine branches across the north are to close, the bank has announced.