Danske Bank to close three local branches

Newry Times News Posted by
Friday, February 15th, 2013
Community, News

Local political representatives have expressed their anger and disappointment today after Danske Bank announced that three of its branches in County Down will close and merge with larger branches in the area. Newcastle, Castlewellan and Warrenpoint branches will close on Friday 10th May 2013.

Newcastle and Castlewellan will merge into Downpatrick branch and Warrenpoint will merge into the Newry branch. Staff in the branches affected will be relocated to other branches.

Tony Wilcox, Danske Bank’s Managing Director, Retail & Private spoke to Newry Times earlier this afternoon.

He stated, “I fully understand that this news may be disappointing for customers. In writing to our customers I have reassured them of our continued commitment to meeting their banking needs.

SDLP Councillor Connaire McGreevy described the news as a ‘massive blow’ to the people of Warrenpoint and Rostrevor.

“It is unfair that due to the failures of bank officials and exuberance that bank premises are being closed to try and claw back the money that was lost.

Sinn Fein MLA Caitriona Ruane said that the closure of three branches is a worrying development in the reduction of services in rural areas. “While there is internet banking available it is no substitute for local branches who know the local community and their needs.

“I would call on Danske Bank to reconsider their plans and look at the needs of the rural community as opposed to maximising profits.”

DUP MLA Jim Wells agreed with Ruane’s sentiments. He stated, “I am extremely concerned about this decision. Over the last two years no fewer than 8 banks have been closed in South Down from Ardglass to Warrenpoint to Rathfriland.”

“These closures will have profound implications for our towns and villages. Businesses will be inconvenienced and the footfall in our town centres will decrease. We are losing businesses from our town centres at an alarming rate and the last thing we need in this difficult time is for vitally important businesses to pull out.

Wells added, “Finally, I am extremely worried that the domino effect will apply and other banks will close in the future.”

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