A call for banks that have pulled out of local towns in recent years to invest in rural broadband as a “legacy” to their loyal rural customers has been rejected.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council wrote to First Trust Bank, Ulster Bank and Danske Bank outlining a recent discussion about how the increasing promotion of online service provision by banking institutions is resulting in the closure of rural branches.
The letter stated: 
“Members highlighted the ongoing issue of poor broadband coverage in some Council areas which impacts on the ability to avail of online banking.” 
It continued: 
“There is a real need for improvements to broadband coverage in the rural areas and members believe that given the pursuance of banks’ to promote increased online banking, the institutions could possibly assist with this matter.”
The Council called for banks to “make a contribution towards enhancing broadband and therefore access to internet banking across the Council area as a lasting legacy to your rural customers who have for many years supported the local bank branches.”
In response, Ian Jordan, the Non-Executive Chairman of the Northern Ireland Committee of UK Finance, which represents nearly 300 of the leading firms providing finance, banking, markets and payments-related services in or from the UK, said broadband deficits are a matter for the Government.
He said customers are demanding new ways to bank and that is why branches are closing. 
Mr Jordan added: 
“But, technology is not for everyone, which is why all the major banks have partnered with the Post Office to help consumers and businesses do basic banking at over 11,000 Post Office branches across the UK, many of which are open outside of normal branch banking hours.”
He said banks are already investing in ATMs and mobile banking. 
The NI Committee Chairman concluded: “I can assure you that we are fully cognisant of the issue which you raise and that our initiative with The Post Office is designed to address the needs.”