Allied Irish Banks (AIB) has today announced that it plans to reduce its workforce by 1,500 by 2023 and merge a number of branches across the country.
In a statement, AIB said that it aims to achieve "over 10% reduction in costs by 2023".
"Reshaping our UK business, reducing our overall workforce, vacating three of our six Dublin head offices and merging overlapping branches in three urban locations are among the key measures we are announcing," they said.
"By 2023, the bank expects to employ 1,500 fewer people due to a combination of normal retirements, natural exits and voluntary severance.
"The bank is confirming that in early 2021 it is to re-open its voluntary severance programme which was paused in March 2020," the statement continued.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, AIB says 80% of its workforce has been working from home.
"In light of the proven capability and effectiveness of remote working, a lower headcount and the need to reduce costs, the bank has re-assessed its future head office requirements in Dublin which currently account for 50% of its total property costs," AIB stated.
AIB earlier this week completed the exit from its former headquarters at Bankcentre, Ballsbridge and will leave adjacent premises at Hume House on December 31.
It is planning to vacate a further three of its six remaining Dublin head office locations as leases come up for renewal over the next few years.
The bank added that "due to service overlaps in three urban areas" they intend to merge some branches.
In Cork, the Patrick St branch will close and operations and services will be moved to 66 South Mall.
In Dublin, AIB’s Westmoreland Street operations will move to its Dame Street branch; the Crumlin Cross branch to Crumlin Road and 52 Baggot Street to 1-4 Baggot Street.
Eyre Square will move to Lynch’s Castle in Galway.
AIB has said they will communicate these details to their customers to "ensure a seamless transition to the new arrangements".
AIB CEO Colin Hunt said the plans are in a bid to "ensure AIB’s long-term sustainability as a major supporter of Ireland’s economy and our 2.8 million customers".
"Our strategic plan, which will be implemented over the next three years, has been influenced by the accelerating effect of Covid-19 on customers’ preference for digital banking and emerging new trends in how and where our people work," he said.
"Our heightened focus on cost controls, the pursuit of new growth opportunities and our investment in digital innovation will enhance the range of financial services and products for our customers, while generating value for our shareholders and putting the bank on an even stronger footing to meet the challenges ahead,’’ he added.
Following an examination of their business in Britain, AIB said it's future focus will be on lending to corporates in the renewable, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors - the bank will exit SME lending in Britain.
"As one of Europe’s best capitalised banks, the updated strategy we are announcing today will ensure that AIB remains resilient and adaptable so that we can continue to provide maximum support to our customers, our communities and the wider economy," concluded Mr Hunt.