Roy Beggs MLA has met with the Danske Bank Officials expressing his concern following their decision to close the Larne Branch and sought reassurance on the future of the Carrickfergus Branch.
Roy Beggs said, “Danske Bank officials that I met were forthright in advising that the Larne branch was closing as the level of footfall and business had resulted in the Branch not being sustainable. They indicated that branches were under pressure as a result of the increasing use of online banking, and infrequent visits by customers. Danske Bank was instead investing in online and mobile banking to meet the needs of customers of the future. They also indicated the high cost of an under utilized large town centre sites and the high level of competition from other banks/building societies locally”
Danske Bank officials asked that any customers who had concerns about the new arrangements should contact the bank to discuss the service that can be provided and to learn if their banking need could still be accommodated.
Roy Beggs said, “Danske Bank customers like myself will have to assess the level of support that can be provided with the nearest branch more than 10 miles away from Larne and we may ultimately vote with our feet. Banks may need a message from customers so that they understand the importance of providing a local presence. I was also disappointed that customers’ accounts were not being transferred to the adjacent Carrickfergus or Ballyclare Branches but to the ‘Flagship’ Ballymena Branch 20 miles away”.
With fewer customers visiting town centre Banks, Roy Beggs also asked how Danske Bank proposed to improve the long term sustainability of Carrickfergus Danske Bank which, given the under utilisation of the building, would have high overheads. Officials acknowledged in some towns that they had reduced costs and continued to provide a presence by downsizing their premises and that another option was examining transferring banking roles from Belfast city centre to the surplus space and that existed in the large Carrickfergus premises.