First Trust to close university branch

THE First Trust has announced it is to close its branch at the University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus.

The branch, which is a sub-office of the bank’s University Road office in Belfast, will close in December.

First Trust officials said there would be no compulsory redundancies and staff would be relocated across its branch network and affected customers will be informed of the changes by post this week.

It said it was taking the measure as part of a review of its cost base in order to move ‘the bank forward as a streamlined, more cost-effective organisation’.

A statement said: “The review of our branch network has considered how customers are using our branches, how they’re adapting to innovations in technology and, in that assessment, some locations have been found to be unsustainable.”

Gerry McGinn, Managing Director, First Trust Bank said: “As a community bank, it is never easy to make the decision to close branches. We are very aware that many customers may be disappointed with this news and our staff will do everything they can to minimise any inconvenience caused.”

East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson expressed his disappoinment at the branch closure.

He said: “I believe that by closing the branch, the bank will be depriving students at the campus of a highly important resource.

“Many younger students who have just left school are going to endure numerous financial issues and problems during their years of study and they require good, sound financial advice from their banks.

“This is especially true in our turbulent economic times with many students facing difficulties in gaining employment and increasingly rising student debt.”

He added: “It is my hope that First Trust will reconsider this decision or will at least provide a plan for some form of support for their customers at the campus going forward.”