The Cahir Branch of Bank of Ireland is set
to close fully from the end of September as well as 102 other branches
nationwide, describing the acceleration in digital banking as reaching a
“tipping point”. The Cashel and Templemore branches will also be closing from
the end of September, as well as the Mitchelstown branch. The branches which
are closing are mainly self-service locations. 88 branches will be lost in the
Republic, leaving 169 in its network, while in Northern Ireland, 15 branches
will close, leaving 13.The Financial Services Union (FSU) has described the
decision as “shameful” and as an act of betrayal to loyal staff and customers,
calling on the Central Bank of Ireland and the Minister for Finance to
intervene to protect customers and staff.
The Bank has agreed a partnership with An
Post, which will offer BOI customers banking services at more than 900
locations across the country, including over-the-counter cash and cheque
lodgements, cash withdrawals. An Post already provides a similar service for
AIB and Ulster Bank customers.
The decision comes amid the Bank posting
reporting an underlying loss of €374m for 2020, reflecting the €1.1bn it set
aside to deal with potential bad loans arising from the pandemic. Bank of
Ireland also noted today that its mobile app is the most popular way for its
customers to bank, with half a million logins daily, while the number of people
visiting branches has fallen sharply, with footfall just over half of what is
was in 2017.
Secretary General of the FSU, John
O'Connell criticised the decision, citing the impact that withdrawing a vital
service from the elderly would have, as well on people with no internet access,
or on people with literacy problems at a time of increased anxiety due to
Covid-19. While the Union is not against change, he said that people need to be
treated with respect; calling for a moratorium on branch closures at least
until the end of 2022.
Bank of Ireland has maintained that there
will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the decision.