The Lurgan branch of Ulster Bank is set to close in the new year, it has been announced.
Meanwhile, the Barclays branch in Newry is yet another bank facing the axe, with the closure earmarked for February 16 next year.
With the Portadown branch of Barclays having closed on July 28, this means that Barclays customers now have to travel to Belfast for in-person banking services.
The news comes only weeks after the Halifax branch departed Lurgan in early October. The bank had announced the closure back in June, citing the decline in footfall due to digital banking.
Ulster Bank reached a similar conclusion for their Lurgan branch, with the reasons given being the decline of walk-in customers and a change in how people use banking services.
An Ulster Bank spokesperson said: “As with many industries, most of our customers are shifting to mobile and online banking, because it’s faster and easier for people to manage their financial lives.
“We understand and recognise that digital solutions aren’t right for everyone or every situation, and that when we close branches we have to make sure that no one is left behind.
“We take our responsibility seriously to support the people who face challenges in moving online, so we are investing to provide them with support and alternatives that work for them.
“We will be investing over £3m across our branch network in the next two years, following £3.25m of investment in 2023. We will be making no further changes to our branch network until at least 2026.”
The news of the closure is to be communicated with customers in the coming weeks, with Ulster Bank promoting the use of local Post Offices for banking services.
Unsurprisingly, Barclays have also cited a lack of footfall as the reason behind the closure in Newry, noting that only 25 customers use this branch regularly as the only way to do their banking.
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has described the departure of Ulster Bank as “another blow” to Lurgan that leaves a “further gap in banking provision”.
She added: “Whilst banking has changed for many it has not for everyone and it is time for big banks to recommit to our town centres and support their customers who are vulnerable and not able to access alternative banking services easily.
“I have been assured that all staff will be offered alternative employment arrangements but our thoughts are with them as they process this news.”