AIB planned closure of 15 branches needs to be reversed.

Issued : 20 July 2021

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Central Bank looks on as Bank branch network is destroyed says FSU.

“We will exit the pandemic without a functioning bank branch network and with local communities and small businesses bereft of vital banking facilities” says John O’Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union (FSU).

AIB have announced today that they will be closing 15 branches across the Country including six in Cork. They have also announced the closure of AIB branch on O’Connell Street in Dublin.

“The branch network is being destroyed without a word of concern expressed by the Governor of the Central Bank who has responsibility for consumer protection. We know when Bank of Ireland made their announcement to close 88 branches that the Central Bank Governor had not even met the Bank to discuss the issue.  We would call on the Governor to immediately meet with both BOI and AIB and ask them to pause any branch closures until society and the economy reopens and a full debate occurs on the future of Banking in Ireland.

Earlier this year, Gabriel Makhlouf, the Governor of the Central Bank told Banks that they must support struggling SMEs as they attempt to reopen, and those banks were expected to “play their part “in managing the fallout from Covid 19.  The Central Bank also identified the absence of a consumer focused culture in its yearly risk assessment of Financial institutions. It is clear our two main Banks have placed additional profits before their societal obligations and are using Covid as cover to remove vital services from communities across the Country.

The FSU have called for a banking forum where all these proposals could be discussed. If the Minister for Finance continues to prevaricate on the establishment of a Banking forum, we will find that the branch network will already be gone before any forum is established.

The Minister for Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank need to jointly tell the Banks that their actions are undermining the chances of a successful reopening of the economy and are causing enormous levels of stress to staff, businesses and local communities.

ENDS