BANK of Ireland has announced changes to branch services in Donegal, with the closure of its Bunbeg, Bundoran, Dungloe, Glenties and Moville branches from September and a new partnership with An Post providing banking services locally.
The changes are in response to significant trends in how people are banking – Bank of Ireland is closing a number of branches nationwide and footfall at the closing branches is down on average by 60 per cent since 2017, while digital usage has increased by one third.
The new partnership with An Post means that Bank of Ireland customers can now avail of banking services at their local post office – Bundoran, Dungloe, Glenties and Moville all have a post office and there are 54 more in the county.
From September, the number of Bank of Ireland branches nationally will reduce by 88, the first significant change in numbers in almost a decade. The Bank will continue to operate one of the most extensive branch networks in the country, with 169 branches, including eight in Donegal. This will be complemented by the new partnership with An Post, offering Bank of Ireland customers services at more than 900 locations across Ireland, including over the counter cash and cheque lodgements, withdrawals, and balance enquiries. To further support over-65s and carers the Bank has a dedicated support line on 1800 946 146 (open 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday).
Gavin Kelly, CEO, Retail Ireland, Bank of Ireland said: “Although the trend has been to close branches, we have kept our branch network largely unchanged over the past decade. But we’ve now reached a tipping point between online and offline banking. Technology is evolving, and customers are using branches less, year on year. Between 2017 and 2020 footfall at the branches which are closing dropped by c60% on average. And even before Covid-19, branch footfall had reduced by almost a quarter over two years. Our mobile app is our busiest channel, c.430k customers log in each day, and traffic is up one third since 2018.
“That’s why we’ve announced changes today. We’re changing our branch network so it meets today’s demand, but we doing this in a way that protects local access to physical banking for those who want it through a new partnership with An Post. This ensures continuity of services locally for both personal and business customers.
“We know changes like this can cause concern for some customers. We’re not making these changes immediately – no branches will close in the next six months. That ensures that the An Post partnership is up and running before any branches close, and we will communicate fully with all customers about every option available, in a nearby BOI branch, online or at a local post office.
“Bank of Ireland has been in business since 1783, and we have always adapted and evolved as our customer needs and preferences change. We are committed to Donegal and these changes will allow us invest in our other branches in the county as well as digital services. We will also continue to work with community groups through initiatives such as Begin Together, a €4 million investment programme providing funding for community-focused initiatives across the island of Ireland.”
Last year Bank of Ireland launched a new mobile app with 50 per cent more functionality, and Apple and Google Pay. Customers can open a current account online in six minutes and can complete the mortgage process entirely online from application to receiving the funds.
Further details on these changes are on our website at www.bankofireland.com/service-changes
The announcement has been described as “further demise” of rural Donegal by Fianna Fáil councillor Noreen McGarvey. She said the closure of the five branches across Donegal will have a major impact on the west of the country.
“People wishing to use the bank facilities will have to travel approximately one hour to either Donegal Town or Letterkenny and this is not acceptable. Whilst the age of online banking has been upon us for some time, there are generations of people who don’t have the technology to avail of online services and were regular customers at the local branches.
“Often transactions need to be dealt with face to face and the local branches were extremely professional in dealing with same. The local branches were a familiar face to people, offering advice and reassuring customers.”
Cllr McGarvey said she will endeavour to make representation against the closure of the branches in Donegal.
Posted: 2:10 pm March 1, 2021