Ulster Bank has confirmed it is to close nine branches across Northern Ireland in October.

The affected branches are three in Belfast (Boucher Rd, Antrim Rd, Woodstock Rd), Monkstown, Main St Bangor, Newtownbreda, Kircubbin, Millennium Forum, and Garvagh.

In a statement announcing the closures, Ulster Bank's Managing Director for Personal Banking in Northern Ireland Sean Murphy said they come as "more and more of our customers are using digital technology and fewer are using our branch network.

"Closing a branch is never an easy decision and one we do not take lightly. Recognising that customers expect different services from their bank, we continue to invest in a range of channels to improve access in a sustainable way, such as our Bank on Wheels, 24/7 telephone banking and our services available through the Post Office," he added.

General Secretary of the Financial Services Union Larry Broderick said the closures are "a blow for staff, customers and the communities they serve.

The announcement follows the news last month that AIB is to close half of its 30 branches in Northern Ireland, which operate under the First Trust brand.

While First Trust did not specified the job losses, the FSU said there would be a minimum of 130 employees affected and that redundancies will be voluntary.

Mr Broderick said: "The fact that in the first three months of the year a total of 24 branch closures have been announced demands a response from all stakeholders." 

The FSU said the Ulster Bank closures will result in around six redundancies.

Ulster Bank will still have the largest bank branch network in the North despite the closures, with the number of branches there set to fall below 60.