Tue, 19 Oct 2021

Customers' drop forces closure of bank branches

Khalid Umar Malik
10 Oct 2021, 00:48 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland - Bank of Ireland's decision to close 88 branches has prompted allegations that the Central Bank has failed consumers.

It was because of the regulator's silence in connection with the closures, said the Financial Services Union (FSU).

FSU general secretary John O'Connell said: "The Governor of the Central Bank told a Dil Committee that he had not even sought a meeting with Bank of Ireland to discuss these closures."

"The regulator has clearly failed in its role of protecting customers and communities in this instance."

He described the closure of bank branches as unfortunate for staff and customers and a sign of the weak regulation in Ireland.

Last April, the Bank of Ireland announced that it would close 88 branches across the Republic, with 15 more in Northern Ireland, because of a 60pc drop in the number of customers using online services.

Mr. O'Connell of the FSU said the closure of the branches would lead to the shut-down of ATMs at some of the locations affected, meaning customers will no longer have 24/7 access to cash.

Despite the increase in card payments, cash is still an essential payment method for consumers, he said

He said this had been anticipated in Northern Ireland and the UK, where the regulator has ensured that cash is accessible for all.

The UK Government is presently studying to extend its legislation in this area.

Earlier this week, the Bank of Ireland said that customers whose branch is closing can now do their transactions in any designated 923 post offices around Ireland.

Bank of Ireland personal and SME customers now have the option to make withdrawals, cash, and cheque lodgements at An Post locations.

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