Armagh's Bank of Ireland branch.
THE Keady and Portadown branches of Bank of Ireland are to close.
The bank’s branch in Armagh will remain open, however.
In total the bank is closing 15 branches and keeping 13 open in Northern Ireland, while 88 are to shut in the Republic.
Bank of Ireland made an underlying loss of €374m for 2020, reflecting large losses it made on impaired loans during the COVID-19 financial crisis. However, it had returned to profitability in the second half of the year.
No closure dates have been confirmed yet, but the branches are expected to close by the end of the year.
Ian Sheppard, Managing Director NI, Bank of Ireland UK, commented: “Technology is evolving and changing the way we live and manage our lives and that includes the way our customers, increasingly, choose to bank with us.
"Fewer customers are using branches and that trend is growing year on year on year. The number of branch visits is now just half of what they were in 2017 and footfall at the branches which are closing is down by nearly 70% since 2017.
"The changes to our branch network that we’ve announced today are designed to meet today’s demand, while protecting local access to physical banking for those who want it through our existing partnership with the Post Office. This ensures continuity of services locally for both personal and business customers.
“We know news like this can cause concern for some customers. However, these changes will not have immediate effect and there is no need for any customer to do anything right now. We will write to our customers at least 12 weeks prior to the proposed closure date of their branch to ensure customers understand the alternative arrangements available to them including online, in an alternative BOI branch, or at a local post office.
"We are also putting in place a range of additional supports for senior and vulnerable customers, including proactive calling by branch teams, mobile advice teams and an over 65’s and carers telephone line.
"Bank of Ireland has been serving the community since 1825 and we remain committed to our customers in the Keady area. These changes will allow us to invest in our other branches in Northern Ireland as well as in digital services so that we can continue to play a positive role in Northern Ireland for years to come.
"We will also continue our work with community groups through initiatives such as Begin Together, our £3.3 million investment programme providing funding and benefitting community-focused initiatives across the island of Ireland.”
Commenting on the news that the Keady branch is to close, Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan expressed his disappointment and concern.
He said, "Bank of Ireland must engage fully with its workers and their representatives as this unfolds.
"All efforts must be made to redeploy workers and reskilling opportunities should be made available to support workers.
"A Sinn Féin delegation will be meeting with Bank of Ireland and the Financial Services Union to discuss these closures and their impact in full."
The full list of branches in Northern Ireland due to close are:
Belfast (Lisburn Rd)
Belfast (Ormeau Rd)
Belfast (University Rd)
Derry (Strand Rd)