Council to urge Ulster Bank to reconsider planned closure of Waterside branch
Alderman Guy said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ about the bank’s decision to close the Waterside branch on February 27 next year.
“Thankfully the majority of staff will be relocated locally, but it’s all too familiar now due to the increase in online banking,” he said. “The online assistance by Ulster Bank is of little comfort to the elderly and vulnerable customers, who rely on face-to-face contact with bank staff.”
He added: “It’s not about the handiness of online banking, it’s about getting out and about, talking to people and improving mental health by having that small interaction with people that some of us take for granted.”
Waterside SDLP District Councillor Martin Reilly said MLA Sinéad McLaughlin had also made similar representations.
“There was shock in the Waterside when this was announced,” Colr. Reilly said. “Our concern is not just for the staff but also the customers and wider business community.”
“The location is key for the wider Waterside and serves a wider population than just simply those who live there. There are cross-border customers, so it impacts residents but also has a much wider impact,” he said.
Waterside Sinn Féin District Councillor Christopher Jackson said he had been ‘inundated with concerns’ by people who are ‘daunted’ by online banking and rely on the service.
Waterside DUP Alderman McMorris said she was ‘shocked’ by the decision.