AIB announces it is closing eight of its 15 Northern Ireland branches this year - including Lisburn
Following a strategic review, AIB will be consolidating its branch network across Northern Ireland, closing eight branches in 2021.
In addition to Lisburn, the branches effected include: Bangor, Coleraine, Glengormley, Kilkeel, Lurgan, Newcastle and Omagh.
It is understood the news was communicated with staff this afternoon (Tuesday, July 13).
AIB announced the results of a detailed strategic review ''in the context of a low interest rate environment, a competitive and challenging landscape and changes in how customers interact with banks.''
As customer demand for branch banking diminishes, a trend that has been accelerated by the pandemic, AIB has announced it is moving to put its business on a ''sustainable footing for the future by consolidating its branch network across Northern Ireland with the closure of eight branches and adjoining ATMs later this year.''
A representative from the bank said it ''remains committed to its customers and continues to provide a full-service offering.''
They added: ''Having invested £25m in Northern Ireland over the last four years, AIB’s reshaped strategy will enhance services for business and mortgage customers with faster, more efficient borrowing decisions. The bank will continue to serve customers in its seven remaining branches and is dedicated to ensuring continuous improvements to its overall digital experience for customers, through developing remote account opening for new personal customers and a digital mortgage offering.
''At the same time, AIB is also enhancing its successful partnership with the Post Office which enables customers to conduct their everyday personal and business banking transactions in any of the 500+ Post Offices across Northern Ireland, all of which are less than one mile away from any of the branches that will be closing.
''To support and minimise any inconvenience through the transition, AIB will write to impacted customers in advance to advise them of the changes and of the alternative ways to bank.
This includes Online Banking and Mobile App, remaining branches and Post Offices. Customers need not make any changes to their accounts.
Branch staff will be available to help and advise, and customers can also telephone AIB’s dedicated helpline 0345 646 0431, open 09:00 – 17:00, Monday to Friday or contact the bank through an online enquiry form (aibni.co.uk/personal-forms/questions-and-comments) with any specific queries. The bank will also be offering dedicated in-branch customer support sessions, providing one-to-one guidance on how to use the digital banking services.''
Brian Gillan, Head of Retail & NI, AIB said: “We are operating in a very competitive and challenging landscape, with the added impacts of low interest rates and the pandemic. This backdrop coupled with the continued shift from branch usage towards digital banking has necessitated this strategic review. The ‘digital first’ customer transition, which has been an industry-wide trend over the past four years, has accelerated dramatically due to the Covid-19 pandemic as even more people adapted to online platforms.
''Since December 2017, we have witnessed an average 33% reduction in the number of active customers using our branch network and a 52% increase in digital online payments in the same period. These undeniable and irreversible trends have in turn influenced our strategy and led to the decision to close branches that are no longer sustainable.
"Our focus will be on minimising the impact for customers who continue to use the branch while also further improving online banking experiences.
“Our highly successful partnership with the Post Office – already used by 30% of active customers – will be expanded to include additional transactional services for business customers such as faster cash deposits.”
“We assure customers that we remain fully committed to them and to Northern Ireland, providing them with a full service personal and business banking offering alongside an enhanced focus on both business and mortgage lending. Our priority is to ensure the bank has a sustainable future in Northern Ireland, which allows us to support our customers and play our part in strengthening the wider economy.”
The planned changes will be managed in line with the bank’s regulatory commitments and in consultation with the Financial Services Union. The bank will support colleagues through alternative opportunities where possible, with a voluntary severance programme available.
All aspects of AIB’s reshaping programme will be managed in line with the Lending Standards Board’s ‘Access to Banking Standard’.
It is believed the closing date for the eight branches is 12 November 2021.