FERMANAGH and Omagh District Council is querying figures used by RBS to back up its decision to close Irvinestown’s Ulster Bank.
In a letter to the Council, RBS representative, Murray Smith said the decision to close the bank had been taken carefully and would not be revisited.
Unsatisfied by the response, councillors have requested a meeting with a senior bank representative, despite Mr. Smith turning down this request following an initial letter from the Council to Ulster Bank in December.
Reflecting on the imminent closure, independent councillor, Sorcha McAnespie said towns and villages in the area already without a bank had found the festive period particularly difficult with a lack of money available in their local ATMs.
“In Fintona in particular, there was a complete lack of cash in bank machines over the Christmas and New Year period,” she said, “It left people very stuck.
“Yes, people can go into their local shop and get cash back, but the shops are only open for a certain period of time each day.
“A good level of cash in the ATMs needs to be maintained, especially when this is all that is left in some of our towns and villages.”
DUP councillor, Raymond Farrell said RBS’ letter of response “says a whole lot of nothing”.
“The letter talks about a mobile banking service, but what I want to know is whether that is going to incorporate businesses or just personal domestic banking?
“I am aware that there have been issues in the past where businesses have not been involved in terms of mobile banking.”
Mr. Smith’s letter outlined figures of a 40 per cent drop in customers using Ulster Bank branches since 2014 and a 73 per cent rise in mobile transactions in the same period.
However, Sinn Féin councillor, John Feely disputed this.
“They are using figures coming from big cities where mobile and online banking is more widely and more easily used. I think it is a disgrace for a company that made a £163 million profit last year  to be closing a bank like Irvinestown.”
Concerned for vulnerable members of the community faced with the prospect of ‘home visits from the community banker, UUP representative, Diane Armstrong said the bank’s strategy was “flawed”.
SDLP man, John Coyle added that given the rise in online fraud, he also had concerns for what the changes would mean to the most vulnerable in the district.
“The least Ulster Bank can do is come down and speak to us,” said DUP man, David Mahon.
All councillors were in agreement that a letter be sent again, requesting a meeting with senior Ulster Bank officials.