Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said banks should consider loyal elderly customers before removing services after AIB said 70 branches are going cashless.
At its peak upon landing in Singapore, Mr. Martin said banks have obligations and a “social contract” with their customers, particularly those of 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-calls-on-aib-to-reconsider-decision-to-make-70-branches-cashless-41857878.html Taoiseach Micheal Martin urges AIB to ‘reconsider’ decision to make 70 branches cashless.