First Trust Bank to shut Cookstown and Magherafelt branches

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First Trust Bank customers in Mid Ulster will be impacted by its decision to close half its branches in Northern Ireland.

Cookstown branch is to shut on June 30 and business move to neighbouring Dungannon, while the Magherafelt branch will close on July 28 and business move around 30 miles to Ballymena.
Up to 130 jobs are expected to be lost with the closure of 15 of the bank's 30 branches.
First Trust says the "difficult decision" followed a reshaping and investment programme designed to ensure a sustainable future for the bank and its customers, addressing the considerable shift in customer behaviour and their changing needs.
"To support and minimise any inconvenience through the transition, the bank will write to impacted customers in advance to tell them how to use alternative branches, services and transact at the Post Office," said a spokesperson.
"Branch staff will be available to help and advise, and customers can also telephone our dedicated helpline 0345 600 3749 9am – 5pm with any specific queries.
General Secretary of the Financial Services Union, Larry Broderick, today described the scale of First Trust Bank (FTB) branch closures announced today as “a serious blow for staff, customers and the Northern Ireland economy.”
According to Mr. Broderick, “while staff were aware of an ongoing restructuring plan at FTB the scale of closures announced today has come as a shock to staff. Great teams in bank branches, many who have served their community for many years, now face the prospect closure and relocation. It is a major blow.”
“The Financial Services Union has worked hard in recent years to manage change across the banking system. The recent pay and job security deal accepted by staff in AIB Group, which includes First Trust Bank, will ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies as a result of this announcement.
“While opposing the scale of the closures, the Financial Services Union, will work hard over the coming months to ensure that commitments made to staff are upheld and that staff can continue to contribute to the bank and the wider Northern Ireland economy. In particular, we will ensure that any staff departures will be on a voluntary basis. This is a position that the union has fought hard to achieve and is in place until 2019.”
Mr Broderick also called on stakeholders, including banks, politicians and local communities to support the proposals to deal with proposed branch closures issued last week by the union. These proposals would put a stay on any proposed closure until an independent expert had produced a report outlining how banking services would be provided in a community in the future.