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Sunday 26 March 2017

Chocolates for emotional staff as bank closes doors

Colin Gleeson

THEY brought chocolate and cards but there was little the customers could do to keep the Halifax from closing.

Bank of Scotland Ireland shut almost half its 44 Halifax branches in Ireland yesterday, with the remaining branches to close next Wednesday.

The withdrawal of the bank from the market here was announced earlier this year and will result in 750 job losses.

The bank said the decision was part of a reshaping of its business due to the economic climate.

It has not revealed how many customers have failed to close their accounts. Halifax had 50,000 credit card and 50,000 current account holders.

At 5pm yesterday at its Sandyford branch, customer services adviser Phil Gaffney hung a poster on the automatic glass doors: "This Halifax branch is now closed."

After finishing off some paperwork and locking up for the last time, Mr Gaffney (40) emerged with two of his colleagues and said: "It's the end of an era."

Of seven employees working at the branch, five already have worked lined up, having been aware of the company's closure since February.

But Mr Gaffney, from Ballyfermot, Dublin is one of the two who still hasn't been able to find a new job.

"Today was our last day so it was a bit emotional," he said. "I'm fairly hopeful that something will eventually come up.

"We were all very shocked at the time when the news was announced . . . I applied to anything that came up but haven't had any luck so far.

"I'm married but I don't have any children so it could be worse. We will probably live off the redundancy package for the foreseeable future and my wife has a steady job . . . we're okay for the moment."

"We've been here for four-and-a-half years (together) so it's hard to think all that is coming to an end.

"Customers have been coming in with chocolates and cards and stuff and saying they don't want us to go, so that's been really nice," he added.

Irish Independent

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