Bank of Ireland says ‘use Post Office’ as it plans to shut Portadown branch

Portadown customers of the Bank of Ireland, which is closing at the end of the year, have been asked to use the Post Office.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 12:45 pm

The branch, in High Street, is expected to close as part of a ‘strategic review’ by the Bank of Ireland after footfall slumped by around 70%.

A spokesperson for the bank said: “The Bank’s agreement with the Post Office means that customers will be able to use their local Post Office for their transactions.”

Bank of Ireland said the changes were being made ‘in response to significant and accelerating trends in how people are banking’.

Bank of Ireland, Portadown. Photo courtesy of Google.
Bank of Ireland, Portadown. Photo courtesy of Google.

The bank is reducing branches in NI from 28 to 13.

It is to deliver a £7m investment to improve the revised branch network, invest in technology, and enhance customer service. The Bank of Ireland UK headquarters will also relocate from London to Belfast.

The bank said personal and business customers will be able to use over 500 Post Office branches to make lodgements of cash and cheques, withdraw cash and make balance enquiries. Bank of Ireland business customers will also be able to access enhanced services including cheque encashment, bulk cash lodgements and obtaining pre-ordered coin at nominated Post Office outlets.

Ian Sheppard, Managing Director NI, Bank of Ireland UK, commented: “Technology is evolving and changing the way we live and manage our lives and that includes the way our customers, increasingly, choose to bank with us. Fewer customers are using branches and that trend is growing year on year on year. The number of branch visits is now just half of what they were in 2017 and footfall at the branches which are closing is down by nearly 70% since 2017.”

He said the changes are designed to meet today’s demand with access to physical banking for those who wish it, via the Post Office. “This ensures continuity of services locally for both personal and business customers.

“We know news like this can cause concern for some customers. However, these changes will not have immediate effect and there is no need for any customer to do anything right now. We will write to our customers at least 12 weeks prior to the proposed closure date of their branch to ensure customers understand the alternative arrangements available to them. We are also putting in place a range of additional supports for senior and vulnerable customers, including proactive calling by branch teams, mobile advice teams and an over 65’s and carers telephone line.”

He said the bank had served the community since 1825 and remains committed to customers in the Portadown area.

“We will also continue our work with community groups through initiatives such as Begin Together, our £3m investment programme providing funding and benefitting community-focused initiatives across the island of Ireland.”

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “Nobody can deny the significant increase of online banking, but to close so many branches in so many of our local towns and on our high streets seems a step too far”

“The closure of these 15 branches will have a negative impact on our high streets with less footfall for nearby retailers when lockdown ends. I have also concerns of the impact on rural communities, with further reduced ATM provision and the ability to access cash.

“Our high streets face a huge task in recovering with so many businesses closing their doors which will lead to a growing problem of dereliction and shuttered shops”

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