Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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129. To ask the Minister for Finance the procedure a bank must follow in instances in which it proposes to close a retail bank premises in which the State has an interest; and the degree to which it must consult with the Central Bank in this regard. [49671/21]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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Officials in my Department referred the Deputy's question to the banks in which the State has a shareholding and received the following response in this regard:

AIB

The retail banking environment has dramatically changed in the last number of years with customers favouring online banking and digital payment methods over the use of cash and visits to branches. AIB have seen daily branch visits fall to 35,000 while daily interactions on the AIB mobile app have risen to over 1.5m.

These trends have been significantly accelerated by the pandemic. In this very challenging banking environment, AIB has had to rigorously examine how to best balance the commercial rationale for maintaining local branch services as customers choose digital banking options in ever increasing numbers. In assessing the impact of any change on customers, employees, stakeholders and communities, AIB seeks to minimise disruption and engage widely to ensure a smooth transition in accordance with all aspects of the consumer protection code.

As a regulated entity, AIB engages fully with the Central Bank of Ireland in this regard and keeps the Department of Finance informed in line with the long established Relationship Framework.

Bank of Ireland

The Bank adheres to the General Principles and Requirements of the Consumer Protection Code when arriving at the decisions set out in these questions. In particular when intending to close, merge or move a branch the Bank must adhere to Provision 3.12 of the Consumer Protection Code which states:

3.12 When intending to close, merge or move a branch, a credit institution must:

a) notify the Central Bank immediately;

b) provide at least two months notice to affected consumers to enable them to make alternative arrangements;

c) ensure all business of the branch is properly completed prior to the closure, merger or move, or alternatively inform the consumer of how continuity of service will be provided; and

d) notify the wider community of the closure, merger or move in the local press in advance.

PTSB

Where the Bank intends to close, merge or move a Branch, Rule 3.12 of the Consumer Protection Code 2012 applies. That states :

When intending to close, merge or move a branch, a credit institutionmust:

a) notify the Central Bank immediately;

b) provide at least two months notice to affected consumers to enable them to make alternative arrangements;

c) ensure all business of the branch is properly completed prior to the closure, merger or move, or alternatively inform the consumer of how continuity of service will be provided; and

d) notify the wider community of the closure, merger or move in the local press in advance.

The Bank adheres to these requirements in any situation where it plans to close, merge or move a Branch.

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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130. To ask the Minister for Finance the procedure a bank must follow in instances in which it proposes to automate a retail bank premises in which the State has an interest; and the degree to which it must consult with the Central Bank in this regard. [49672/21]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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Officials in my Department referred the Deputy's question to the banks in which the State has a shareholding and received the following response in this regard:

AIB

The retail banking environment has dramatically changed in the last number of years with customers favouring online banking and digital payment methods over the use of cash and visits to branches. AIB have seen daily branch visits fall to 35,000 while daily interactions on the AIB mobile app have risen to over 1.5m. These trends have been significantly accelerated by the pandemic.

In this very challenging banking environment, AIB has had to rigorously examine how to best balance the commercial rationale for maintaining local branch services as customers choose digital banking options in ever increasing numbers. In assessing the impact of any change on customers, employees, stakeholders and communities, AIB seeks to minimise disruption and engage widely to ensure a smooth transition in accordance with all aspects of the consumer protection code.

As a regulated entity, AIB engages fully with the Central Bank of Ireland in this regard and keeps the Department of Finance informed in line with the long established Relationship Framework.

Bank of Ireland

The Bank adheres to the General Principles and Requirements of the Consumer Protection Code when arriving at the decisions set out in these questions. Where the Bank decides to amend or alter the range of services it provides the Bank must adhere to Provision 3.10 of the Consumer Protection Code which states;

3.10 Where a regulated entity intends to amend or alter the range of services it provides, it must give notice to affected consumers at least one month in advance of the amendment being introduced.

As part of this process the Bank would proactively engage with the Central Bank of Ireland

PTSB

Where the Bank intends to automate a retail bank premises where that would result in a change to or removal of a service provided in that Branch, Rule 3.10 of the Consumer Protection Code 2012 applies. That states:

Where a regulated entity intends to amend or alter the range of services it provides, it must give notice to affected consumers at least one month in advance of the amendment being introduced

The Bank adheres to these requirements in any situation where it plans to alter the services in a Branch, including where automation of a retail bank premises would result in a change to or withdrawal of services. While there is not a requirement to notify the Central Bank, the Bank as a practice will inform the Central Bank in advance of any such changes.

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