Six AIB branches are being closed in Cork, it has been announced, with 15 service points being shut across the country.
The bank said the decision has been made following a “detailed strategic review” and was due to accelerated trends such as an “unrelenting shift in customer preference to digital banking.” The affected Cork branches are migrating in a staggered manner to alternative locations over a number of dates from Autumn into Winter of 2021.
On October 22, North Main Street will move to 66 South Mall along with Blackrock Road, (Sept 24) and Ballyphehane (Nov 26).
Douglas Court is moving to Douglas Road on Nov 12, Little Island is transferring to Midleton on Oct 8 and College Road is moving to Western Road on Sept 24.
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said the announcement by AIB that it will close its branches in Ballyphehane and Blackrock Rd, with accounts transferring to South Mall, is another blow to the local economy, to the workers and their families, to customers and small businesses.
Mr Ó’Laoghaire said: “Of course, it is true that banking is changing. However many, particularly elderly people, still rely heavily on face-to-face service in their local branch.
"This is for a number of reasons, including security and trust in face-to-face interactions at their branch, as well as difficulties accessing electronic devices or internet for online banking.
The Cork South-Central TD criticised the timing of the closures, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.
“My thoughts are with the workers affected by this announcement and their families, it is always difficult to get news of closures but this remains a very challenging time as the uncertainty of the pandemic continues.”
Mr O’Laoghaire said he had written to AIB in an effort to get them to reverse the decision.
“I have written to AIB, expressing my concern at the significant impact these branch closures will have on the communities affected. It is the wrong decision at the worst possible time, with serious consequences for customers and staff.
“AIB should reverse this decision immediately and commit to a moratorium on branch closures until the Covid-19 pandemic ends."
In a statement, AIB said the changes were to safeguard the future of the organisation: “At a time of negative interest rates and competition from non-traditional lenders, the strategy is another step towards ensuring a sustainable future for AIB’s branch network. AIB remains committed to its branch network, will maintain a strong presence in the communities it serves, and with 170 remaining branches will continue to have the largest branch network in the country.”