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From five days to 45 minutes

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

From five days to 45 minutes thumbnail

When the Ulster Bank branch closes its doors in Rathfriland in four weeks' time, the town will be served by an alternative 'Bank on Wheels' service which will stay in town for just 45 minutes a week, writes Louise McDowell.
The length of time the mobile service will be available in Rathfriland has been criticised by a town councillor, who said their requests to meet with the bank officials have been ignored.
The bank is due to close on Wednesday, 6 June and when Ulster Bank announced the closure they said that the town would be served with a mobile banking service.
They confirmed to The Outlook last week that the service will be introduced from next Monday (14 May) however it will be in the town for less than an hour a week.
"Our Bank on Wheels service will be stopping in the car park on Church Square every Monday from 2.15pm to 3pm," they confirmed to The Outlook.
A bank spokesperson also said that customers have been informed of this, despite no formal notification having been given to its customers, as they said their colleagues in the branch have been communicating this to customers who use it.
They said that the service will start with 45 minutes a week, however a close eye will be kept on it to make sure it is an adequate service.
“As with all our services, we carefully monitor customer demand to make sure we're providing the right level of service to meet customer needs," said a spokesperson, who added the ATM will be retained until such time as the building is sold.
However, UUP Alderman Elizabeth Ingram said she thinks 45 minutes a week is "ridiculous".
"Since the announcement of the closure of the only bank left in the town, resulting in local traders and members of the public being left to deal with the inconvenience of that decision and despite the councillors for the area meeting with RBS officials, I and others left that meeting feeling that our requests for more help and assistance in dealing with the closure had been ignored," she said.
"I asked for figures of the reduction in footfall and usage of the bank but I was told these figures couldn't be disclosed. Everyone knows it is a busy bank and should never have been on a closure list.
"I will be asking RBS officials to review and extend the length of time the mobile bank is being made available for," said Alderman Ingram.
Ulster Bank said their "Bank on Wheels provides banking services in a number of towns and villages in Northern Ireland where we don't have a permanent branch".
The provision offers a range of services from cashing cheques, making deposits or paying bills.

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