Monday, March 01, 2021

Bank of Ireland is to close its branches in Monasterevin, Kilcullen, Celbridge and Leixlip HP & Intel branches from September as part of the bank’s national review of its operations.

the bank’s branches in Athy, Kildare, Naas, Newbridge, Leixlip and Maynooth will remain in operation while an Post will provide banking services to Bank of |ireland customers in their network of post offices throughout the county.

Bank of Ireland say the changes are in response to significant trends in how people are banking – Bank of Ireland is closing a number of branches nationwide and footfall at the closing branches is down on average by c60% since 2017, while digital usage has increased by one third.

The new partnership with An Post means that Bank of Ireland customers can now avail of banking services at their local post office – Celbridge, Kilcullen and Monasterevin all have a post office and there are 22 more in the county.

From September, the number of Bank of Ireland branches nationally will reduce by 88, the first significant change in numbers in almost a decade. The Bank will continue to operate one of the most extensive branch networks in the country, with 169 branches, including six in Kildare. This will be complemented by the new partnership with An Post, offering Bank of Ireland customers services at more than 900 locations across Ireland, including over the counter cash and cheque lodgements, withdrawals, and balance enquiries. To further support over-65s and carers the Bank has a dedicated support line on 1800 946 146 (open 9.30am to 4.30pm, Mon-Fri).

Labour’s Senator Mark Wall has described the announcement by Bank of Ireland of its plans to close 88 branches in the Republic of Ireland as a kick in the teeth for thousands of loyal customers and staff. Calling for a pause on bank branch closures during the pandemic, Senator Wall said; “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.

This move has been on their agenda for some time and it was telling that the bank refused to share the terms of reference of the operational review which has provided the basis for this decision with the Financial Services Union who represents the bulk of branch staff. Indeed the instructions of been directed to a machine in the corner when you entered one of these branches were telling in itself of the bank’s ambition. If you want to use reduce customer contact then directing those loyal customers to use machines in a faceless bank was always going to reduce your customer interaction.

“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.

“The loss of bank branches in Monasterevin and Kilcullen will hit those towns hard. Those branches had remained a focal point in those towns and were been used by locals in pointing out that the towns had a future and could attract investment and opportunities.

“Experience tells us that once a local bank branch is gone it will never return. In the case of Bank of Ireland the fact is that many of the branches in the firing line are the last ones standing in their locality.

“This has been a tumultuous period for Irish banking. More change is on the way and that is why I join with my finance spokesperson, Ged Nash T.D, in calling for a Forum on Banking to be established as a matter of urgency to chart a course forward for a sector that knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing,” he said.

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