Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Department of Finance
125. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will work with the Central Bank to ensure that lodgement ATMs will be put in place in locations in which a bank (details supplied) has withdrawn its physical bank presence. [17071/21]
As the Deputy may be aware, as Minister for Finance, I have no role in the commercial decisions made by any bank in the State. This includes banks in which the State has a shareholding.
Decisions in this regard, including the management of branch or ATM networks, are the sole responsibility of the board and management of the banks, which must be run on an independent and commercial basis. The independence of banks in which the State has a shareholding is protected by Relationship Frameworks which are legally binding documents that cannot be changed unilaterally. These frameworks, which are publicly available, were insisted upon by the European Commission to protect competition in the Irish market. The Bank of Ireland Relationship Framework can be found at the following link:
Bank of Ireland did provide me with a briefing in advance of their announcement on branch closures and they released the following details:
- The decision to close these branches is in response to changing customer behaviour with a significant acceleration in digital banking.
- The branches closing are predominately self-service locations which do not offer a counter service.
- To preserve local access to physical banking for those who want it, the bank has agreed a new partnership with An Post which will allow personal and business customers use their local post office for a range of banking services – including to withdraw cash and make cash and cheque lodgements – at no additional cost. The closing Bank of Ireland branches all have a post office within, on average, less than 500 meters.
- The bank confirmed that the new partnership with An Post will be available to all Bank of Ireland customers before any branch closes.
- Furthermore, the bank stated that there will be no closures for six months.
On ATMs specifically, the bank confirmed that no location will be left without access to financial services or cash facilities. Many locations will see an enhancement of services through the bank’s new partnership with An Post. However, in the small number of locations (four) where there is no alternative ATM available, Bank of Ireland will maintain an ATM.
In relation to staff, the bank commented that it will be working closely with all colleagues at these branches and will be setting out a range of options which include relocating to a different branch, moving to a new role in the bank, or voluntary redundancy for those who choose it.
The full Bank of Ireland announcement on the matter can be found at the following link: