Ulster Bank to close 39 branches

3 July 2013

Ulster Bank will close 39 of its branches across Ireland as its parent company the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) attempts to improve its balance sheet.

The Northern Ireland Assembly's finance committee will now discuss the closures, which will result in significant job losses.

Finance minister Sammy Wilson told the BBC the move shows just how much work RBS needs to do to return to profit.

These new closures are in addition to 950 job losses announced in January 2012 and this figure is likely to reach 1,800 by 2016, which would be nearly a third of its entire workforce.

However, the bank has said it hopes the majority of the losses will be achieved through natural wastage.

Many of the branches are in rural locations and could cause social problems should they be removed from the area.

In light of the news that RBS has £20 billion to lend out to small and medium-sized businesses, Mr Wilson told the news provider Ulster needs to do more to boost Northern Irish companies.

By Asim Shah

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