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Simon Moynihan
Staff Writer

Bank of Scotland announced today that it is to close its Halifax operations in Ireland with the loss of 750 jobs across the country.

The decision which was announced at 3pm, will affect the customer service centre in Dundalk and all Halifax branches across the country. The staff were told by Bank of Scotland chief executive Joe Higgins this afternoon during a conference call.

According to a statement issued by the bank, 44 branches, the customer service centre and all support functions will begin closing on a phased basis from May 2010. Redundancies are expected to be completed by July.

The Lloyds Banking Group which owns HBOS said that the bank lacks the scale to succeed in the tough economic climate and that there was no strategy that could see it achieve profit in a realistic timeframe.

The website today stated that "Customers do not need to do anything at this stage and customers' savings and investments remain secure. All affected customers will be contacted shortly on what the next steps are, if any."

"The loss of the Halifax network is a significant blow to Halifax staff and Irish consumers alike" said David Kerr, managing director of today following the announcement. "It underlines how important it is now,more than ever for consumers to compare financial products and make an informed choice."

David Kerr concluded by saying "It is regrettable that will be removing all Halifax products from its panel of current accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and loans, thereby reducing the choice available to the Irish consumer in these categories."

The Halifax business in Northern Ireland is not affected by today's announcement.