Ulster Bank Ballymoney closure could ‘spark a domino effect’, says MLA Swann

North Antrim UUP MLA Robin Swann has warned that the Ulster Bank’s decision to close its Ballymoney branch “could spark a domino effect retreat of other banks from North Antrim, which would be to the serious detriment of customers who are not online banking confident.”

As well as Ballymoney, the other Ulster Bank branches to close are in Holywood, Warrenpoint, Dunmurry, Antrim, Larne, Comber, Maghera and Clogher. The branches will start to close in September through to mid-October.

Assembly member Swann added: “While the Ulster Bank makes the excuse that more customers are moving to online and mobile banking, it still does not address the challenges faced by many in the community, especially the elderly and pensioners, who prefer to do their banking face-to-face at the actual bank counter.

“Likewise, for many elderly in the community, a trip to the bank is part of their regular social outings. In North Antrim terms, while we are talking about one branch in one part of the constituency, what happens if this creates a domino effect among the banking sector and other banks follow suit?

“And it’s no use suggestion that ATMs in certain locations will provide the solution as many people may still have to travel some distance to access an ATM facility – with no face to face customer service at those ATMs.

“Given the vast profits which many banking institutions are making, surely the banks have a moral obligation to the communities they serve to make their facilities as accessible as possible – and that especially includes face to face service.

“If we were to take how the community suffered when rural and local urban libraries closed as a benchmark, then this potential retreat by the banks will not auger well for local communities throughout the constituency and I urgently ask the Ulster Bank to re-consider this damaging decision,” said Assembly member Swann.

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