Vulnerable consumers and those in rural areas most impacted as 27% of bank branches in Northern Ireland close within 3 years

Our latest figures released today reveal that Northern Ireland has lost 27% of its total bank branch network in less than three years. Between May 2020 and January 2023, banks in Northern Ireland permanently closed 52 branches.

We carried out research in 2022 to understand the impact of bank branch closures on Northern Ireland consumers. The research shows that bank branch closures have a bigger negative impact on vulnerable consumers, including those who have a disability or who are on low incomes.

Key findings:

  • Between May 2020 and January 2023, 52 bank branches closed in Northern Ireland, 27% of the total bank branch network.
  • 21% of consumers have seen their local bank branch close within the last three years.
  • 84% of consumers who had experienced a bank branch closure said it had an impact on their lives, this increases to 90% for consumers on low incomes and 94% for consumers who have a disability.
  • Of those in rural areas where their local bank closed, over half of them (53%) said that it had a major impact on them and their local community.

We are calling for more to be done to protect consumers from the impacts of bank branch closures and wants to see the banking industry come together to meet the changing needs of their customers and find inclusive solutions that best meet the needs of all consumers.

Scott Kennerley, our Director of Financial Services said,

 “The alternatives provided for consumers when a branch closes, such as using the Post Office or online and telephone banking, provide benefits for many consumers, but they do not meet everyone’s needs.

“This research shows that consumers are being impacted by bank branch closures and it is potentially the more vulnerable that are feeling the impact more than others. We know that bank branches are unlikely to return to highstreets, but consumers need the right level of support to make sure that they can still access the banking services they need.”

View the full research on the impact of bank branch closures on Northern Ireland consumers.

image of lady at a bank branch counter

Your options if your bank branch closes

Information on recent or planned bank branch closures in Northern Ireland, information on alternative banking providers, and advice on what you should do if your local bank closes. 

  • Personal Finances