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Axe falls on 20 branches

Ulster Bank plans to close up to 20 branches in the Republic and in the North during the year.

The British-owned bank said the move was part of the efforts to scale back its operations here.

It said it would continue to keep the branch network under review to ensure it is operating in the correct locations for its customers.

"As part of this review we will be closing in the region of 20 branches and suboffices on the island of Ireland in 2013," it said.

"We expect to be in a position to provide further details in the next few weeks and will communicate directly with our customers and employees at that time."