BARCLAYS say they took the “difficult decision” to close their Ballymena branch because nine out of ten customers now use telephone and online banking.
Adrian Davies, Market Director for Barclays, told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.
“At Barclays Ballymena branch, customer usage has continued to fall by 25 per cent over the last 24 months and 88 per cent of our customers now use telephone and online banking, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close it.
“We hope that the availability of our Barclays branches at Belfast Castle Place and Coleraine, local Post Offices for everyday transactions and our range of digital channels, will help to ease the transition for our customers.”
In the statement a bank spokesperson added: “We do not take the decision to close any branch lightly and we are committed to adhering to the UK Access to Banking Standard.
“All of our customers will receive a letter, our decision to close document and posters will be displayed in branch and colleagues will be on hand to assist customers with any concerns they may have.
“We will be proactively engaging with local businesses and the wider community to discuss the alternative ways customers will be able to undertake their banking locally, before the branch closes on Friday, 29 May 2020.
“We urge any customer who is concerned about how to undertake their banking once the branch closes to contact us so that we can discuss alternative banking options.
“We will be hosting ‘tea and teach’ sessions at Ballymena branch for customers wishing to explore digital banking.
“Customers are able to undertake everyday transactions at the Post Office.
“The staff at Ballymena will be offered roles at other branches as part of this change.
“By consolidating our resources into a smaller number of branches, we will be better able to support our communities’ needs through dedicated on-site Branch Managers, who can focus on strengthening links with the local communities that will be required to sustain physical banking for our customers.
“We’re also exploring new ways to introduce flexible, physical banking locations, following our pilot at MediaCityUK, with the hope of announcing the first of these in the coming months.
“We continue to invest in Northern Ireland in different ways, with a focus on innovation and exploring new ways to help more customers with their financial needs.
“We’ve supported customers with help to buy their own homes through over £1.2bn of mortgage lending.
“We remain committed to our Belfast Eagle Lab at Ormeau Baths, the recent expansion of which demonstrates the increased demand for specialised support for start-ups and entrepreneurs.
“We’re also committed to continuing our support for local businesses, from SMEs to Corporates, to grow and achieve their ambitions, as a vital part of the local economy.
“We have a team of seven dedicated Relationship Managers supporting over 1,000 SME clients in Northern Ireland, and we’ve grown to a respectable market share of Mid-Corporate clients since beginning operations just six years ago.
“We’re also a mature, market leader for Large Corporates in Northern Ireland across industries, supporting 40% of the top 50 companies.
“We continue to be a leading provider of financing in Northern Ireland, including a recent £105 million bond issuance for Radius Housing Association which will go towards building a significant amount of new social housing.
“We also continue to play an important role in our communities, with our partnership with Business in the Community delivering Barclays LifeSkills employability training to over 16,500 young people across Northern Ireland.”