Two Ulster Bank branches to close in Mid Ulster

The Ulster Bank, Stewartstown
The Ulster Bank, Stewartstown

Ulster Bank is set to permanently close two of its branches in the Mid Ulster Council area later this month.

Draperstown is expected to shut its doors on June 12, while the Stewartstown branch will close on June 27.

The move leaves both towns without banks.

Customers have been asked to travel to neighbouring towns - Magherafelt and Cookstown - to do business.

The bank announced towards the end of last year that it was closing 11 branches across Northern Ireland and seeking a total of 40 voluntary redundancies.

A spokesperson said increasing numbers of people using online banking and falling usage of the branches had brought about a restructuring of its operation.

They say they have two new community bankers active in the Stewartstown and Draperstown areas.

“They are willing to run and attend events to help people with their banking needs,” said the spokesperson.

They can be contacted at the following email addresses: Stewartstown – Keith Jackson - Keith.jackson@ulsterbank.com

Draperstown – Siobhan Lowe - Siobhan.Lowe@ulsterbank.com

Politicians across the political divide expressed concern at the decision to shut the branches.

DUP MLA Keith Buchanan said he had met Ulster Bank officials and stressed the impact the closures would have on the rural community.

“Rural banks have served our local communities in both towns for many years and this represents yet another loss of banking services at the heart of our towns and villages,” he said.

“While we recognise that banking trends have and are changing with many people now using online banking, we also know that many of our rural communities have limited connectivity to the Internet making this difficult.

“We are also aware that we have an increasingly elderly population, many of whom do not use online banking and prefer to deal face to face with bank officials in a local branch.”

Mr Buchanan said banking officials had told him that those seeking face to face banking could avail of services at their local Post Office.