Simon Moynihan
Staff Writer

Postbank, the joint venture between An Post and BNP Paribas announced on Friday that it will close at the end of the year. Jobs for the 260 people employed by Postbank are at risk.

Postbank became the second retail bank to announce closure in as many weeks following the decision by Bank of Scotland to close Halifax with an expected loss of 750 jobs.

In a statement from the group, Margaret Sweeney, Chief Executive of Postbank, said: "Customers will be our top priority over the months ahead. Existing customers can conduct their affairs as usual and customers can be assured that their savings are fully secure."

Postbank will stop accepting new customer applications from Monday 1st March. For customers with pending account applications, their accounts will not be opened and their paperwork and documentation will be returned.

Postbank has 170,000 customers across a range of products including savings accounts, current accounts and insurance. The group has advised that it will contact all customers shortly with their next steps. However in a document published on the website it is suggested that customers start to make alternative arrangements.

Thierry Schuman, chairman of Postbank, said the decision to close the bank was due to "the unprecedented circumstances in which the financial services sector finds itself, the highly competitive savings market within Ireland and the absence of a perspective of profitability in the current market circumstances."

Postbank was set up three years ago and operated online and through An Post's network of 1,000 branches.

Commenting on the Postbank closure announcement, Managing Director David Kerr said "This is another blow to Irish consumers. Postbank has consistently offered good rates, value and straight forward products, and with a country wide network of over 1,000 branches it will definitely be a major loss to its customers." He added that "Postbank customers should check the entire market before selecting a new financial institution to make sure they find a bank that provides the services that they need."

More information about the Postbank closure announcement can be found at their website