McGrath: Closure of Kilkeel Danske Bank will impact local community

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Sunday 15 May 2022 7:25

SDLP South Down MLA Colin McGrath has said the closure of the Danske Bank branch in Kilkeel will have a negative impact on the local community.

Mr McGrath said many people in the coastal town relied on the branch for banking and other services and would be lost without it.

He will be contacting the bank to discuss the closure, set to take place later this year.

South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:

“The news that Danske Bank plan to close their Kilkeel branch on September 16 is a serious blow to the local community. Kilkeel is a coastal town in a rural area and the people who rely on this bank for a wide variety of services face a long trek to find an alternative. While I understand that greater numbers of people are opting for online banking, a large number of people still prefer to use a physical bank, including our older population, many of whom have not transitioned to using online services.

“This is the latest in a number of bank closures in this area in recent years and if we don’t find a way forward we face the disappearance of physical banking from our towns and villages in the not-too-distant future. We need to find a happy medium that meets the needs of everyone in our society and part of that must include a number of locations for people who prefer to do their banking in-person.

“My thoughts are also with the Danske Bank staff who face significant changes as a result of this closure. I will be approaching Danske Bank to advocate on their behalf and also to make the feelings of the local community known in regards to this matter. I hope that they will listen to the views of people in Kilkeel and reconsider this decision for the benefit of everyone who lives here.”

Danske Bank announced last week it was shutting four more branches this autumn.

Its oerations in Lurgan, Cookstown, Kilkeel and Fivemiletown will close on Friday September 16.

ATMs at three of those branches will be also be removed on that date, although the cash point in Fivemiletown will continue to operate until the end of next January.

Aisling Press, the bank's managing director of personal banking, said: “The world around us is changing constantly, and the world of banking changes with it.

“Alongside that, the needs and expectations of our customers evolve, and in the last number of years, the way customers use branches has changed considerably. Now, many are choosing to use alternative ways of banking with us, such as our digital solutions, online banking, app or banking on the telephone.

“As a business, we have to respond to these changes and part of that is reviewing and adapting how we invest in customer solutions for the future.”

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