Local politicians, business representatives and community spokespersons have described the exit of MBNA from Carrick-on-Shannon as a devastating blow for employees of the bank and the wider community.
It is only just over 13 years since MBNA opened the doors on their multimillion euro facility in the County Town.
At its peak the bank employed nearly 1,000 people in its Leitrim operation.
Last Thursday Bank of America confirmed that the operation would be closing in November with the loss of 160 jobs.
The bank said that the move followed “a comprehensive review of its customer contact centre operations in the UK and Ireland”.
Ian O’Doherty, Chief Executive of MBNA, said: “Our business is now UK-focused and serves UK customers, so we are proposing to align our resources to the market in which we operate. Our comprehensive review looked at a number of potential options for our Carrick-on-Shannon operation, including its potential sale to a third party.
“Regrettably, this was not achievable and so we are proposing to close the operation. We are committed to doing everything we can to support our colleagues We will have a dedicated team available throughout the weeks ahead to offer them a range of practical advice and support”.
Carrick Chamber described the closure as a “severe blow to the wider area. It is a very sad day for the staff concerned and their families. It will also be of concern to our members for its effects on trade in the town. The Chamber welcomes that upwards of 250 jobs are not affected in the part of the business previously sold and now known as AvantCard.”
The Chamber met Minister Richard Bruton and Barry O’Leary, CEO of the IDA three years ago on this issue and were assured that the Minister would ‘leave no stone unturned’ in his efforts to sell the business as a going concern.
“The Chamber is extremely disappointed that all efforts to retain the business have failed. We understand there has been a decline of 65% in call centre traffic generally, with more online options being availed of, which hasn’t helped matters,” they noted in a statement.
Gerry Faughnan, Chamber President said “This is a very sad day for the staff concerned and for their families. The Chamber met with Leitrim County Council CEO, Frank Curran, in recent weeks on possibilities on new businesses being sourced. I understand the IDA are actively pursuing options for Carrick.
“The Chamber calls on Minister Bruton and the relevant government agencies to do everything possible to assist the employees concerned and to source new replacement businesses.”