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SMEs ruthlessly abandoned by banks McKay tells Ulster Bank

10 July, 2013

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has told Ulster Bank that he believes that small businesses with a good lending record have been ruthlessly abandoned by the main banks.

Ulster Bank Officials appeared today before the Assembly Finance Committee, of which Mr McKay is Chairperson after the North Antrim MLA had called on them to appear before the Committee following the disgraceful manner in which staff were notified last week of impending branch closures and staff redundancies.

 Daithí McKay said:

"At the Finance Committee this morning at which Ulster Bank Officials appeared it was only right and proper that an apology was issued to customers and staff on behalf of the Bank. Steps need to be taken now to ensure that this unacceptable attitude by banks to both customers and staff does not continue.

"The scandalous way that many small business customers have been treated seems to continue unabated. There are customers of the Ulster Bank, and other banks, who have been exemplary customers, indeed have been customers who have never missed a payment and remained loyal to the bank despite the unappreciative treatment they were subjected to.

"However many of these customers are now being abandoned by these very same banks in a ruthless manner to reduce Ulster Bank's loan book. This is wrong. Whilst the banks had to change their approach to risk, this is totally over the top and is putting good businesses to the wall unnecessarily.

"There is a process taking place in regard to branch closures. The Committee today outlined to the bank that they must ensure that staff and customers have a proper input into that process and that the statistics that are being used to justify such closures, especially in rural areas, are made transparent and subject to scrutiny.

"There must also be consideration given to other ways of providing a banking service in rural areas, rather than removing branches en masse."

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