Ritchie criticises Ulster Bank over ‘double standards’

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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie has criticised Ulster Bank for what she described as ‘double standards’ after it was reported that a branch in Ardglass is earmarked for closure. This comes despite assurances from the bank that it would not close a branch where no other banking institution existed. Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “There has been considerable discussion about the role and intentions of Ulster Bank in the provisions of services to customers over the last number of months. “Quite some time ago, customers faced the uncertainty over the computer problems when they were unable to access their money or even know what debits were made from their accounts or even know the balance. Ritchie continued, “We were also told a number of weeks ago that Ulster Bank intended to undertake a rationalisation programme which would involve the closure of some branches. At that time, I am led to believe that they indicated that they would not close a branch in a town where another banking institution did not have an outlet. “Now, it seems that Ulster Bank may have broken their own undertakings in the case of local fishing port – Ardglass. The branch located in Ardglass has been earmarked for closure. “There is no other banking institution in that fishing village offering full services. It is important that that service is retained in Ardglass to accommodate the banking needs of people in the area. “I have now written to Ulster Bank asking them to honour and uphold their previous commitment and ensure that residential and business customers in Ardglass have access to proper and adequate banking services.” She added, “Ulster Bank must be consistent in applying their policies and given the delicate nature of customer confidence in the banking sector they must give customers every assurance. “This debacle raises the question of whether RBS is acting in the real interests of customers or simply preparing for withdrawal from Ireland.”
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