Elphin and Strokestown Bank of Ireland branches to close

Bank of Ireland has announced that Elphin and Strokestown branches in County Roscommon are among the 103 branches of the Bank across Ireland that will close from September.

In Sligo, Ballymote and Tubbercurry will close, while in Leitrim, Drumshanbo and Manorhamilton are also to close.

There will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the closures.

In a statement this morning the Bank added “We have seen a sustained decline in the use of our branches. Our customers tell us that they expect visits to branches to reduce further as they move away from cash towards digital and contactless payments”.

Group CEO Francesca McDonagh said: “Technology is evolving, and customers are using branches less, year on year on year. COVID-19 has accelerated this changing behavior, and we’ve seen a seismic shift towards digital banking over the past 12 months”.

“We’ve now reached a tipping point between online and offline banking. Our mobile app is our most popular way to the bank, with almost half a million customer logins every day and traffic up by a third in the past two years”.

“7 in 10 personal customer product applications are made digitally, and we expect this to grow to over 8 in 10 by the end of this year”. added Ms McDonagh.

John O’Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union asked “How can Bank of Ireland think it is appropriate to make this announcement when the country is in the middle of a pandemic. It is a shameful act which needs to be reversed.”

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Mr. O’Connell said that branches are being closed in areas with poor broadband and little access to other services.

Mr O’Connell said the FSU believes the future of banking is blended banking (online and branch network) and it is important that there is a public debate on the issue before this is “implemented over our heads without agreement.”

Seamus Boland, chief executive of Irish Rural Link, said the closures are another blow to rural areas and other non rural areas.

( photograph shows the Boyle branch of Bank of Ireland which was not mentioned in this morning’s closure announcement)

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