Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has described AIB’s decision to turn 70 branches cashless – including their branch in Castlerea – as a “hugely negative” move for customers. Castlerea AIB branch will go cashless from September 30th next.
Announcing its decision this week, AIB said there is declining demand for cash-related services. The 70 branches will now focus on account opening, financial planning, mortgages, loans, savings and investments.
The bank will expand its relationship with An Post in order to ensure that customers will be able to access more extensive cash and cheque services in post offices.
“With digital usage soaring, the cost of providing cash services has become increasingly unsustainable,” the bank said in a statement.
Deputy Kerrane was not impressed, stating: “The changes announced by AIB this week will see cash, cheque and ATM services as well as the night safe removed from 70 branches across the State, including Castlerea and a number of branches in County Galway.
“While AIB cite soaring digital use as one reason for these changes, there are many vulnerable customers, including older people, who will feel the impact of this decision greatly.
“Castlerea AIB will go cashless from September 30th with the nearest branch with full cash services for customers being Roscommon Town. On October 21st, a number of branches in County Galway, including Ballinasloe, will also go cashless, meaning some customers will have to travel even further for banking services.
“Accessing cash is a fairly basic service provided by any bank and the loss of these services will impact on customers and businesses. The removal of the ATMs in particular will make it much more difficult for customers accessing cash in these rural towns”.
Deputy Kerrane welcomed the fact that AIB are expanding their relationship with An Post but said the bank should have waited for the outcome of a Department of Finance review of banking which is currently underway before making its decision.
The TD called for “a national conversation about banking in Ireland” particularly in the context of vulnerable customers in this digital age and for people living in rural communities.