Mixed news for future of banking in the North West

There’s differing news today when it comes to the future of banking services in the North West.

Bank of Ireland has announced it’s scaling back on services in some brances in Donegal.

However, there’s hopes that a mobile service being operated by Ulster Bank in the county could be extended to other areas of the region.

Donegal Sinn TD Pearse Doherty has slammed Bank of Ireland’s decision to scale back over-the-counter-services at branches in the the county.

Branches at Bundoran and Glenties will soon lose services including over-the-counter cash lodgements and cash withdrawals.

Instead, these services will become automated as branches become ‘advice and self-service models’ while both facilities will no longer provide currency or coin exchange.

In a statement today Bank of Ireland said that staff will still be available to help customers they are just moving to ‘advice and self-service models’.

The bank says this is to reflect the changes in the way people are doing banking with more going online and the over the counter services will remain in place in a number of branches in Donegal including Donegal until half past midday daily.

However, Deputy Doherty told Ocean FM News that this will have a detrimental effect on the county, particularly in Bundoran given its reliance on tourism and its close proximity to the border.

He has called on the incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to ‘stand up’ for rural areas and put a stop to these cutbacks.

Meanwhile, another Donegal TD says he hopes a mobile banking service being rolled out in parts of the county might be extended to other areas of the North West.

Ulster Bank is making the move having recently closed branches in Ardara and Raphoe.

The bank went ahead with the move despite extensive lobbying by local communities and their representatives.

Fine Gael Minister Joe McHugh says he remains deeply disappointed over the closures.

However, he told Ocean FM News he welcomes the mobile service and he hopes Ulster Bank might also introduce it in other rural areas where it has closed branches, such as in Ballymote in County Sligo.