By Daniel Hunter

Ireland's Ulster Bank has confirmed that it will close in the region of 20 branches and sub-offices over the coming year.

The Irish Bank Officials' Association (IBOA), the union that represents bank workers, said it understands half the closures will be in Northern Ireland.

The IBOA learned of the closures during a staff conference call last week.

In a statement, Ulster Bank said that it would provide further details on the closures within the next few weeks.

The Ulster Bank currently has 146 branches in the Republic of Ireland and 90 in Northern Ireland.

"The potential announcement of closures of branches will probably result in 50 or 60 of those jobs to be impacted in Northern Ireland for the retail network," Larry Broderick from the IBOA said.

"We expect in Ulster Bank by the end of 2013 to see probably in the region of 950 jobs on the island of Ireland to have gone out of the bank, arising from restructuring," Mr Broderick said.

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