TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has requested a meeting with AIB chiefs after urging the bank to reconsider its decision to scrap cash facilities at 70 branches across the country.
ndependent.ie understands Mr Martin intends to meet with executives at the bank next week, in which the government holds a controlling stake of just over 70 per cent, following their surprise announcement earlier this week.
It is understood that Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will also attend the meeting with the bank.
In a statement, AIB said it would meet with Mr Martin.
“AIB is aware of the Taoiseach’s comments and we look forward to engaging with him,” the bank said.
“Meanwhile, the bank continues to work with local communities. Under the plan, AIB will retain its 170 strong branch network in communities across the country in its entirety. We have deepened our relationship with An Post. As part of the expanded 20-year “AIB at An Post” scheme, bank customers wishing to access cash can do so locally at any of the country’s approximately 920 post offices, which offer extended hours and Saturday openings across the national postal network Customers can also withdraw up to €1,500 in cash per day from their AIB checking account at their local post office and deposit up to €5,000 in cash per week.
“The average distance from a repurposed branch to a local post office is less than 350 metres. AIB customers continue to have access to cash at over 4,000 ATMs across the country, including third-party ATMs, and up to 25,000 of these outlets offer cashback.”
Landing in Singapore earlier Thursday, Mr Martin said banks have obligations and a “social contract” with their customers, particularly those from different generations.
He said: “We are moving towards a more cashless society. But there are significant cohorts of people, businesses and cities across Ireland who need this facility. And I think the banks should take note of this. And we will certainly engage with the banks on that.
“I think they have to consider the people who have been loyal. A number of customers have been with the bank over the years, particularly older generations. And I think that profitability is often a factor too. And I think they should reflect and reconsider the extent of what they’re doing.”
Mr Martin’s comments come amid furious backlash against AIB’s move, particularly in rural areas.
Fine Gael TD Michael Ring has urged bank officials to appear before the Finance Committee to explain their decision.
He said: “This latest move by AIB to halt cash facilities at 70 branches, most of which are located in rural communities like my own, goes against basic decency and has rightfully sparked anger among people in the affected counties.
“There are many vulnerable customers in rural areas who may not have the digital skills to do their banking online, as well as businesses who may prefer to deal in cash.
“In my own county, branches in Ballinrobe and Claremorris will be removing cash, ATM and check services and this comes on top of other bank closures that have taken place in recent years.
“I would now like AIB to come before the Oireachtas Finance Committee and explain the reasons for this move, as well as what their future plans are and whether they intend to close or discontinue services at any additional branches.”
Earlier the Association of Irish Cattle and Sheep Breeders said AIB shows disrespect towards customers.
ICSA President Dermot Kelleher said: “Bank branches in rural Ireland have become scarce in recent years and have caused all sorts of difficulties, but getting rid of basic check processing, cash and ATM services in those that are still open is taking some work step too far. Now the question arises: What is a bank for?
“It’s all very nice to say that the typical customer can do their banking online. However, this is not the case for those who are self-employed or those trying to run their own business but who have a constant need to cash in checks and also use other banking services that involve significant amounts of money that are not necessarily available online.
“While An Post offers check storage facilities, this is only available in a few branches and the list is very popular.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/banking/taoiseach-micheal-martin-seeks-meeting-with-aib-bosses-after-calling-on-bank-to-reconsider-making-70-branches-cashless-41857878.html Taoiseach Micheál Martin is seeking a meeting with AIB bosses after urging the bank to make 70 branches cashless