Bank of Ireland is set to close 103 branches across the island of Ireland by the end of September 2021.
It hasn’t been the best couple of weeks for banking customers in Ireland, what with the big news that Ulster Bank would officially be closing up shop in the Republic after 160 years doing business here.
And today customers of Bank of Ireland (BOI) have been dealt yet another blow with the news that the bank will be closing 103 branches in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.
From the end of September, 88 branches in the Republic of Ireland will close, reducing the bank's branch count here from 257 locations to 169.
It will also reduce its branch size in Northern Ireland by 15, decreasing from 28 to only 12.
The closure of branches around the country is in response to customers “loudly and clearly” expressing a preference for digital banking services, according to CEO of Bank of Ireland, Francesca McDonagh.
Three out of four customers of the locations set for closure have not set foot in their local branch in the past year, according to the bank.
Commenting on the closures, Ms McDonagh said:
Our mobile app is our most popular way to bank, with almost half a million customer logins every day and traffic up by a third in the past two years. Seven in 10 personal customer product applications are made digitally, and we expect this to grow to over eight in 10 by the end of this year.”
In contrast, the number of people visiting branches has sharply declined, and is now just over half of what it was in 2017, she said. Footfall at the branches which are closing is down even more, 60 per cent over the period. The decline has been fuelled by the pandemic.
What's more, BOI has said that the closing branches are mainly self-service locations and do not offer a traditional counter service at present anyway.
Closures by county
See the full list below to see what branches are set to close by county in the Republic.
- Miltown Malbay
- Cork Institute of Technology
- James Street
- Law Library
- Merrion Road
- Tralee IT
- Leixlip – HP/Intel
- University of Limerick
- Athlone IT
Commenting on the potential effect the Bank of Ireland branch closures will have, Kevin Johnson CEO of CUDA (Credit Union Development Association), said:
Today’s announcement will be felt by consumers in many towns and villages throughout the country. While there is undoubtedly a move towards a more digital offering in the financial services sector, there is still a significant cohort of people who are not ready to make that change.
The migration of banks to self-service branches has been a difficult transition for many people – particularly older customers, many of whom still favour face-to-face interaction. However, today has taken this migration one step further, with people in the affected locations no longer being given even the self-service option.
While Credit Unions have made great strides in terms of digital developments, their community ethos means than maintaining a local community presence is integral to the movement. As with Ulster Bank’s planned exit, I believe the announcement today will drive more and more people across the country to becoming members of their local Credit Union, so that they can avail of traditional banking through both digital and in branch means, a pattern we’ve seen in other countries, including Canada and the USA.
BOI partnership with An Post
Bank of Ireland has however announced a new arrangement with An Post whereby customers will be able to carry out their normal day-to-day banking requirements at any post office around the country. And the good news is that there are more than 900 locations nationwide.
As part of the closure agreement, customers of BOI will be able to carry out over the counter transactions as normal in post offices, including everything from lodging cash and cheques to being able to withdraw money.
Banking services made available at post offices will also mean longer opening hours for customers to carry out their business, as opposed to the much shorter hours offered from traditional BOI branches.
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