First Trust announce Belleek closure

Published: 27 Jul 2012 12:43

BELLEEK'S First Trust sub-office will close in October it has been announced today (Friday).

The First Trust sub-office in Belleek will close in October.

As part of a review of its branch network, First Trust will be closing four sub-offices and one branch later this year.

"A review of the First Trust cost base has been concluded with the aim of moving the bank forward as a streamlined, more cost-effective organisation," said a spokesperson for the Bank, "The review of our branch network has considered how customers are using our branches, how they're adapting to innovations in technology and, in that assessment, some locations have been found to be unsustainable."

The closures will be on a phased basis.

Belleek, a sub-office of Enniskillen, will close in October; Ballycastle, Co Antrim, Shipquay Street, Derry (a sub-office of Meadowbank) and Dromore, Co Tyrone, (a sub-office of Omagh) will all close in November, and Jordanstown, Co Antrim (a sub office of University Road, Belfast) in December 2012.

"Four of these five closures are sub-offices which have been operating on reduced opening hours, two of which open only two days a week," said the spokesperson, "The branch closures will not result in any compulsory job losses as staff will be facilitated in alternative locations."

Reacting to the news, Fermanagh North councillor, Raymond Farrell, said he was "deeply disappointed and frustrated".

"A lot of business people and  families are very dependant on this service who cannot access others methods of banking, never mind the problem of travelling. It is also terrible from a tourism perspective as I know many people would have found the service valuable when in the area. The impact on rural communities at decisions like this cannot be underestimated and I will be keen to establish how they intend to accommodate people as a result of this negative decision. My thoughts are with the staff members as well in what must be a distressing decision for them."

Gerry McGinn, Managing Director, First Trust Bank said: "As a community bank, it is never easy to make the decision to close branches.  We are very aware that many customers may be disappointed with this news and our staff will do everything they can to minimise any inconvenience caused.

"All impacted customers will receive a letter about the changes from 31 July 2012, outlining that their accounts will be automatically transferred to the nearest alternative branch offering the full range of banking services.  This transfer will not affect their account numbers, sort codes, or the existing operation of their accounts. We have also provided customers of each of these branches with a dedicated contact number for any queries they may have."

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