Branches remain key to the future of banking

Issued : 25 May 2020

Union responds to migration online with call for further commitments on bank branches

The Financial Services Union has responded to a Banking and Payments Federation survey on consumer behaviour during Covid-19, released this morning.

Commenting FSU General Secretary John O'Connell said:

“We welcome the survey finding which confirms that 71% of customers will revert to branch banking post Covid 19. I note that members of “Generation Z” say they will increase their usage of bank branches, with 83% saying the intend to use a branch, an increase of 22%. This shows that young people will remain keen users of our local branches, which form an important part of our communities.”

"Where local bank branches have been temporarily closed during Covid-19, we have received assurances they will all re-open. We fully expect that the banks will honour their commitments to us and to the communities that they temporarily withdrew services from. There is a strong body of research that shows that local branch closures leads to a sharp decline to lending to local businesses."

"Local bank branches are an essential part of our cities, towns and communities. Covid-19 has brought this home in Ireland, where our members have been working hard to continue to serve their communities as essential workers. It is hardly surprising, however, that there has been a migration online in recent months, given that many branches are temporarily closed, some of us have been cocooning, and we have all been asked to stay at home, where possible."

“While online banking activity has grown as a consequence of Covid-19, we would hope that no one would suggest that the availability of technology is an alternative to the availability of essential, local banking services in our towns and cities."

"We are in a period where banks suggest that their culture is evolving and that they have learned the lessons of the recent tracker scandal. The retention of a vibrant local branch network, serving customers and lending to local businesses, will be the first litmus test for them of the suggested new banking culture. “

"We will be working to ensure that further commitments are made to re-open branches which were temporarily closed during Coivid-19, and that all the retail Banks make firm commitments around the future of local bank branches."

For more information, contact Paul Dillon on 0876859446