Ulster Bank has announced it is closing nine branches in Northern Ireland from September of this year.

The branches which are due to close are in Holywood, Warrenpoint, Dunmurry, Antrim, Ballymoney, Larne, Comber, Maghera and Clogher.

The closures will bring the number of Ulster Bank branches in the North to 35.

The bank said that all of the branches which are due to close are within one mile of a free to use ATM. It added that its partnership with the Post Office in the North will also enable customers to withdraw and deposit cash at any of their branches.

An Ulster Bank spokesperson said that as with many industries, most of its customers are shifting to mobile and online banking.

"We understand and recognise that digital solutions aren't right for everyone or every situation, and that when we close branches we have to make sure that no one is left behind," the spokesperson said.

"We take our responsibility seriously to support the people who face challenges in moving online, so we are investing to provide them with support and alternatives that work for them," the bank added.

The Financial Services Union said that Ulster Bank's decision to close nine branches in Northern Ireland will be a come as a body blow to staff, customers and business.

The General Secretary of the FSU, John O'Connell, said the union will oppose the closures and will remind the bank of its societal role in providing services to local communities.

"The rationale given for these closures does not stand up to scrutiny. If banks continue to cut services, you leave people with no choice but to use digital platforms. There are many people who are unable for varied reasons to bank online," Mr O'Connell said.

"Ulster Bank have put profit before people and shown a complete disregard for communities and particularly older people and vulnerable people who will be without banking services due to this announcement," he added.

John O'Connell also said that banks have lost the trust of people since the banking crash, adding that closing services is not the way to rebuild that trust.

Ulster Bank's news today comes after Danske Bank Northern Ireland said last week that it was closing four additional branches later this year, reducing its network to 28.

Ulster Bank is in the process of leaving the Republic of Ireland market and yesterday said it expects to cease transactions with customers by the end of March 2023.

Ulster Bank is now writing to customers, asking them to close their accounts. Customers have six months to do this once they receive such a letter.