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Bank of Ireland to recruit 130 specialist IT staff over next 12 months

Last month, the bank confirmed plans to close 88 branches in Ireland and 15 branches in Northern Ireland.

Image: DPA/PA Images

BANK OF IRELAND has announced plans to recruit 130 technology professionals. 

The new roles will include technical architects, software developers, engineers, specialised project managers, scrum masters and data analysts. 

Of the 130 roles being announced, 30 are at an advanced recruitment stage and 100 are currently advertised or will be advertised with the expectation the roles will be hired over the next 12 months. 

Today’s announcement comes after Bank of Ireland confirmed in March plans to close 88 branches in Ireland and a further 15 branches in Northern Ireland. 

The closures will see the branch network in Ireland reduce from 257 to 169 and from 28 to 13 in Northern Ireland. 

After a review of its internal software systems, the bank took a €136 million impairment charge last year, concluding that certain aspects of its digital transformation initiative “had not matured sufficiently”.

Launched in 2016, the digital revamp, dubbed ‘Project Omega’, had an initial price-tag of €500 million, which increased to €1.4 billion in 2018.

In its 2020 annual report, the bank said it had “formed the judgement that certain software assets were impaired, as they were no longer expected to provide future economic benefits.

“Accordingly, an impairment charge of €136 million has been recognised in the year, of which €127 million was charged to the transformation investment asset and €9 million was charged to other internally generated computer software,” the bank said.

In a statement today, Bank of Ireland’s group chief operating officer Jackie Noakes said: “The pace of banking is changing rapidly and we’ve reached a tipping point between offline banking and 24/7 digital services.

“That makes roles like these critical to how we serve our customers, bring products and services to market and develop our business in the future.” 

Bank of Ireland booked a €374 million loss in 2020, mostly due to a €1.1 billion write-down of its loan book in anticipation of a wave of pandemic-linked defaults.

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In March, Bank of Ireland said a new partnership with An Post will offer customers access to a range of banking services at over 900 locations. This will include withdrawing cash and making cash and cheque lodgements. 

The bank also indicated that €12 million will be invested in a re-sized branch network by the end of 2022.

Following the announcement of the branch closures, Labour’s finance spokesperson Ged Nash said it was a “kick in the teeth” for customers and staff of Bank of Ireland. 

“There is no doubt that Bank of Ireland is exploiting the Covid-19 crisis to drive down its costs. The bank’s ruthlessly opportunistic plans to cull 88 branches in towns across the State will have an even more severe and direct impact on the fabric of communities across the country than Ulster Bank’s recent announcement, given their extensive reach,” Nash said.

“Physical bank branches are intrinsic to the commercial and social life of main street Ireland but it seems that this is a factor of limited interest to the Central Bank of Ireland as the regulator.”

Additional reporting by Ian Curran

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