Customers of the AIB branch in Omagh say they are devastated at its impending closure, as the bank moves its Omagh operations to Enniskillen amidst increases in online banking use.
The branch is due to close on November 12 as part of a strategic review into the business which has led to the closure of eight branches across the North.
The original building on Omagh’s High Street was first built back in 1923.
Almost 100 years of banking history in the town will be stripped back in a matter of months.
One customer told the UH it was ‘absolutely devastating’ to see the bank close its doors.
“As an elderly lady, it is absolutely devastating that these local facilities have been taken away. I’m led to believe from the bank clerks that Enniskillen is the nearest branch,” said Anne McMenamin.
“I was reassured that you can lodge in the local Post Office, but it’s not the same when it comes to doing transactions for different other reasons.
“It’s not the same as coming in to our local bank and I personally hope that they will reconsider and leave our bank as it is.”
Martina Hollywood said it was very disappointing and that she may have to change banks in order to avoid making the trip to Enniskillen.
“I’ve been with this bank since I started working, I’ve been with them nearly all my life,” Martina said.
“If I want to stay I will have to go to Enniskillen.”
Speaking at an event in Drumragh on Wednesday, Deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill, described the move as ‘a loss to rural communities.’
“We know there are challenges to living in rural areas, particularly broadband and access to online banking. So we do need that facility on the ground to be able to walk through the door and do your banking,” Ms O’Neill said.
“We need to see a collective effort to try to maintain services because people who live in more rural towns deserve to have exactly the same access to banking services as you do living in an urban setting.
“Our local MP, Órfhlaith Begley, and the team will be challenging AIB around what they are doing to make sure there is a continuity of service for the people here on the ground, and for those staff who are potentially going to lose their jobs. They need to be treated fairly and there needs to be a package in place to support them.”
WATCH: Michelle O’Neill on what the closure of bank branches means for rural communities