Santander Bank Church Street, Ballymoney to close in May.
THE NEWS that Santander is to close the Ballymoney Branch of their bank in a few months time has been greeted with disappointment.
Customers in the Ballymoney area received the unwelcome letter this morning informing them of the closure of the Church Street branch to take place on May 16.
The Santander letter says that this “difficult decision” “follows extensive consideration and a comprehensive internal review.”
The letter says: “The decision to close this branch has been one that has not been taken lightly and we understand it will be a difficult one for a number of our customers, however, we are committed to providing them with whatever assistance they need in the coming weeks and months.”
Expressing his disappointment, one customer said: “this is not welcome news at all, I moved from First Trust to Santander after First Trust closed their branch in the town.
“I prefer being able to walk in talk directly to staff in relation to matters that arise and the Ballymoney staff have always been friendly and helpful. What will I do, change banks again? And what of staff what will happen to them?”
Santander say: “This decision will also unfortunately impact a number of our colleagues. We will be working with them to explore redeployment opportunities within Santander or further employment outside of the bank."
The bank claim that 90% of their customers who use this branch, either at the counter or the cash machines, are also using additional ways to complete their banking – 32% at another Santander branch and 44% through Online, Mobile or Telephone Banking.
The letter also says that the growth of digital banking means that the branch network of the future will be different to today’s, with more larger community branches alongside smaller ‘digital branches’ that use the latest technology to provide access to banking services.
“The branch team will be talking to all customers visiting the branch to explain the alternative options, providing help and guidance where needed, for example with setting up and using our online or mobile banking services. The branch team will also be proactively contacting known vulnerable customers to ensure that they are properly supported and advised on how to continue to bank locally,” the bank concludes.
Commenting, Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan, expressed his disappointment at the news, saying: "The last few years have seen too many local bank closures in the town. Local banking is a vital service. Not everyone is able to do online banking and even if that were the case there are still many examples of when visiting a bank is needed to complete a transaction. This news is also a blow obviously to the people who work in the bank and their rights must be looked after.”