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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 13 August 2022

Ireland's bank network 'is being destroyed' says FSU after AIB announces 15 branch closures

AIB cited the “unrelenting shift” to digital banking as one of the reasons for the branch cull.

Image: DPA/PA Images

IRELAND’S TWO MAIN banks have put profits “before their societal obligations”, the head of Ireland’s banking sector trade union has said this morning after AIB announced the closure of 15 branches in the Republic of Ireland.

John O’Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union warned that Ireland will exit the pandemic “with local communities and small businesses bereft of vital banking facilities”.

The bank announced this morning that 15 branches will be closed including six in Cork.

AIB’s branch on O’Connell Street in Dublin will also shut.

“Following the unrelenting shift in customer preference for digital banking over the last number of years, AIB is announcing the amalgamation of 15 branches in locations across the country by December this year,” the bank said in a statement.

“The vast majority of the branch amalgamations are in urban/suburban locations, mostly in Dublin and Cork.”

Screenshot 2021-07-20 at 10.38.33 A full list of the branches being 'amalgamated' from the AIB website

It comes less than a week after the lender announced it was to close more than half of its 15 branches in Northern Ireland, citing the switch to digital banking and the decline in bank visits.

Earlier this year, Bank of Ireland announced the closure of 88 branches in the Republic and 25 in Northern Ireland.

In his statement on the latest closures, O’Connell criticised Central Bank of Ireland Governor Gabriel Makhlouf.

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“The branch network is being destroyed without a word of concern expressed by the Governor of the Central Bank who has responsibility for consumer protection,” O’Connell said.

“We know when Bank of Ireland made their announcement to close 88 branches that the Central Bank Governor had not even met the bank to discuss the issue.

“We would call on the Governor to immediately meet with both BOI and AIB and ask them to pause any branch closures until society and the economy reopens and a full debate occurs on the future of Banking in Ireland.”

O’Connell added, “It is clear our two main Banks have placed additional profits before their societal obligations and are using Covid as cover to remove vital services from communities across the country.” 

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