Ulster Bank is set to shut down 11 branches across Northern Ireland in response to increased adoption of digital banking channels by customers.

The branches earmarked for closure are located in Ballyclare, Dromore, Moira, Draperstown, Dungiven, Portrush, Killyleagh, Rathfriland, Castlederg, Irvinestown and Stewartstown.

Ulster Bank managing director Sean Murphy said: “In line with the industry-agreed UK protocol on branch closures, we are writing to customers of these branches to inform them of alternative branch locations in their area and the range of banking services available on their mobiles, online, telephone and in post offices.”

The move, which has been highly criticised by the Financial Services Union (FSU), will affect 40 jobs and reduce Ulster Bank’s branch network to 44 locations.

FSU general secretary Larry Broderick said: “Closing down a bank in a community has a very significant impact.  We can’t just allow banks make that decision based on short-term, cost saving criteria.”

Earlier in 2017, Ulster Bank announced nine branch closures.  After the latest move, the bank will have shuttered 50% of its branches across Northern Ireland since 2013, FSU stated.

FSU senior official Gareth Murphy added: “We have secured the commitment from the Bank that these will be the only closures in 2018 and that they have a number of redeployment and role opportunities to avoid compulsory redundancies. The likely number of voluntary redundancies will be in the region of 40 out of about 65 staff impacted.”