SDLP Councillor, Helena Dallat O’Driscoll, has said that there is deep anger and concern after she was informed that Danske Bank plan to close their Kilrea branch, leaving loyal customers in the lurch for banking services.
The Kilrea Councillor said that this was a bitter blow for rural communities who already had poor broadband connectivity.
Councillor Dallat O’Driscoll said: “I was contacted by Danske Bank today to inform me that they will be closing their Kilrea branch early December. This decision was taken after no consultation with local representatives, businesses or loyal customers who rely on their local branch to access banking services.
“This is another example of banks just looking after their own commercial interests and abandoning people in rural communities. We are now left with no bank in Kilrea. There’s absolutely no sense of obligation to communities that are being stripped of local services.
“The end result of this is that local people won’t be able to access banking services in the same way they could in an urban environment. So we’ll have fewer business opportunities, fewer chances to attract new investment and at a community level, elderly people, in particular, may be forced to hold large sums of money in their own homes making them vulnerable to thieves.
“It’s outrageous. I had a frank conversation this morning with representatives from Danske Bank and I asked for reassurance that the staff that have served our community for years will be protected and redeployed.
“The SDLP has requested an urgent meeting with the banks to outline these concerns and my colleagues and I will be exploring the possibility of bringing legislation at Stormont to protect local banking services.”