Six jobs are to be lost with the closure of Athlone’s Halifax branch in the coming months. The Halifax branch in Golden Island Shopping Centre, Athlone is among 44 branches nationwide that are to close by the end of June this year.
Shocked staff members at the Athlone branch learned of the decision by Bank of Scotland Ireland to close the Halifax retail bank network across Ireland on Tuesday afternoon this week. The closure will see a total of 750 jobs lost throughout the country.
A further seven jobs are to be lost with the closure of the Mullingar branch of Halifax at Pearse Street, Mullingar. Branches are to be closed on a phased basis beginning in late May, with all branches expected to be closed by the end of June.
In a statement, Bank of Scotland Ireland said the decision to pull out of retail banking in Ireland was taken as a result of the “continuing and very difficult economic environment” and in order to secure a viable future for the bank. The company now plans to focus on corporate and commercial banking, and will retain a presence in the Irish market.
The group said it “deeply regrets” having to announce its intention to close and expressed thanks to its customers for their business and support.
Some 50,000 credit card and current account customers will have to move their business from Halifax as a result of the decision. However, the bank said customers do not need to do anything at this stage, and reassured customers that their savings and investments remain secure. All affected customers will be contacted in the coming weeks.
Trade union Unite has condemned the lay-offs, saying frontline staff were being punished even though they did not cause the economic crisis, and that its members would unite to resist any compulsory redundancy.