Danske Bank branch closure announcement is a blow to businesses and consumers

Press Releases 9 Feb 2024

Branch closures are turning many communities into a banking wasteland, limiting access to cash and shrinking an increasingly fragile free-to-use ATM network.

Alan Lowry, FSB`s NI Policy Chair, says that Danske Bank`s decision to close a further four branches in Northern Ireland is a blow to businesses and consumers.

Alan Lowry said:

“Danske Bank`s announcement of the closure of a further four branches in Carrickfergus, Knock, Saintfield and Shipquay Place in Derry/Londonderry is very disappointing to say the least. These closures further erode access to banking facilities in towns and city centres and will be a blow to businesses and consumers. Banks used to be right at the centre of bustling communities across Northern Ireland, but unfortunately many are a banking wasteland as banks use the cover of ‘changing customer behaviour’ to reinforce profit margins.

“It is important to note that not only does this announcement include the closure of branches, but also cash machines, further limiting access to cash. This has been repeated all too often across Northern Ireland and beyond. That`s why FSB welcomed the opportunity to respond to a recent consultation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), who aim to protect and widen access to cash.

“The FCA was given the task in the Financial Services and Markets Act from last year of “seeking to ensure reasonable provision” of cash deposit and withdrawal facilities, for business and personal customers. We will ask the FCA to measure the actions of Danske Bank against responsibilities to maintain access to cash. They deserve close examination.

“However, we do not believe that the FCA proposals adequately address the ongoing decline in cash access infrastructure, with bank branch closures continuing at an alarming rate, and a shrinking and increasingly fragile free-to-use ATM network. The consultation also overlooks essential services such as local cash deposit facilities for small business owners, and assisted cash services that offer personal interaction. With Danske Bank being unable to offer any guarantees about the size of their network in the future, it is important that the Financial Conduct Authority moves swiftly to examine the actions of banks, especially when they are closing the last bank in town.”