Ritchie raises Ulster Bank closures with British Government

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Friday, January 2nd, 2015
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has raised the issue of Ulster Bank branch closures with Minister Matthew Hancock from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie stated, “There is a particular issue of branches being closed in rural areas where people are more isolated and therefore more dependent on local branches. “For many, including the elderly, these banks provide a vital function and are at the hub of the community. “I was pleased to hear that the Department are aware of this problem and the Minister informed me that Vince Cable has written to all of the major banks, including Ulster Bank’s parent company RBS, to ask for a commitment to providing rural services in line with the wider social commitments of the banking sector. “That RBS remain majority owned by the taxpayer should further remind them of their obligations to the public,” Ritchie pointed out. “Where Post Office branches are being used to fulfil banking functions they must be able to provide the vast majority of transaction services that were previously supplied by the bank. The relationship between the banks and the Post Office needs to be strengthened to meet these requirements. She added, “I will be asking the Minister to provide a full report on the bank’s response to this issue and for updates on the uptake of Post Office services.”
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