THE first signs of the First Trust Bank’s imminent departure from the town are clear to see with a recent notice attached to the ATM warning customers the device will be removed at the end of the month.
The bank will close its doors on Friday, July 28, with the ATM removed three days later on Monday, July 31.
The bank has blamed a reduction on branch usage for the closure explaining that it has seen a 22 per-cent decline in transactions in the Strabane branch over the last five years.
However the loss of the bank to the town will mean another empty building on the streets of Strabane.
Commenting on the closure Independent councillor Patsy Kelly said, “I am very sad we are losing a major bank in our town. Not only will it be disappointing to see this iconic building lie derelict, it means local people will have to travel further afield to Derry or Omagh to visit their nearest First Trust Bank.”
Martin Gallen from Strabane Chamber of Commerce said he hopes the building will soon have a new tenant. Mr Gallen explained, “I am very sad to see this bank go and to see another empty business premises in the town, particularly on Main Street. Although the closure has been very sudden I am hopeful another business will take over the building soon.
“The town definitely seems to be on the up as more and more businesses are taking over vacant buildings.
“I don’t think a building like this will lie empty for too long,” Mr Gallen added.
In preparation for its closure in two weeks time First Trust Bank is encouraging customers to avail of their local post office as an alternative way to bank.