Ulster Bank is closing 22 Irish branches

Resulting in roughly 220 job losses...

Ulster Bank has announced its plans to close 22 branches across the country, resulting in approximately 220 job losses.

The bank is hoping that as many of these redundancies as possible will be voluntary. Previous Ulster Bank downsizing has seen redundancy schemes oversubscribed.

The closures are set to take place in June and September, leaving the bank with 88 branches in the Republic.

The affected branches include five in Dublin (Dalkey, Donnybrook, Dorset St, Rathmines and Sandyford); four in Cork (Ballincollig, Blackpool, Carrigaline and Fermoy); two in Galway (Briarhill and Newcastle); two in Limerick (Castletroy and Newcastle West); two in Donegal (Ardara and Raphoe); and two in Cavan (Arva and Cootehill).

There will also be closures of branches in Edgeworthstown, Longford; Ballyhaunis, Mayo; Carrickmacross, Monaghan; Edenderry, Offaly; and Ballymote, Sligo.

Ulster Bank has stated that an average of 150 customers used each of the affected branches in the past week – 30 daily visits.

The confirmation follows reports earlier this month that as many as 30 branches in the Republic could shut as part of a major restructuring of its business.

Ulster Bank has said the closures come as it moves to digital banking.

Last year, 62% of its customer interactions were digital, compared to 10% in branches.

The bank has acknowledged that some customers will be adversely impacted by the lack of physical services. To remedy that, they have a "number of supports" in place, including the newly-created roles of community bankers and two new mobile banks.

Ulster Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon said:

“Closing a branch is a difficult decision which we do not take lightly, and our branch network remains an important part of how we serve our customers. However, the role of the branch continues to move toward advice and away from day-to-day transactions, with only 10% of our customer interactions now happening in branch.

“These changes to right-size our business mean that while we will create a number of new roles, we will reduce our number of roles across Ulster Bank by approximately 220 during 2017. We will manage these changes in line with our existing process with the FSU."