BREAKING: Four Bank of Ireland branches in Kildare to close

Senan Hogan

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Senan Hogan

Bank of Ireland apologises

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Bank of Ireland said four branches in Co Kildare will be among the 103 branches in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to close due to the increase in digital banking and other factors. 

Branches closing in Co Kildare will be Kilcullen, Monasterevin, Celbridge and at HP/Intel in Leixlip.

Branches close to the Kildare border also closing include Edenderry and Enfield. 

The branches are due to close from the end of September.

Bank of Ireland said there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of today's decision to close branches nationwide.

As a result of the closures, the bank's branch network in the Republic of Ireland will be reduced by 88 leaving 169, while 15 Northern Ireland branches will close, leaving 13. 

Bank of Ireland said it had agreed a new partnership with An Post which will offer Bank of Ireland customers banking services at more than 900 locations across Ireland. 

This will include over the counter cash and cheque lodgements and cash withdrawals, with longer weekday opening hours than traditional bank branches as well as Saturday opening. 

It said the closing Bank of Ireland branches all have a post office within, on average, less than 500 metres.

Francesca McDonagh, Bank of Ireland's group chief executive, said that 2020 was an exceptionally challenging year for the bank but its focus was on supporting its customers through every stage of the Covid-19 crisis while continuing to deliver its strategy. 

She added: "For many years, the trend to digital banking has been evident, with customers using branches less and less. Covid-19 has accelerated this changing behaviour, and we've seen a seismic shift towards digital banking over the past 12 months.

"We’ve now reached a tipping point in customer preferences between online and offline banking. That’s why we’ve also announced changes to our branch network in Ireland and Northern Ireland today, while protecting access to local banking services though a new arrangement with An Post."

Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, the CEO said the closure of branches decision was made because customers are saying "loudly and clearly" that they want more digital and less branches and this is about investing where customers want to bank. 

Ms McDonagh said the deal with An Post will enable all Bank of Ireland customers to carry out counter transactions in one of An Post outlets.  

She said Bank of Ireland is "very mindful" of the impact on some local communities and no town or village where Bank of Ireland operates will be left without access to financial services or cash. 

A hotline had been set up for customers, particularly older customers, the bank CEO said, but she added that there is a high take up of online banking among older customers and half of customers aged over 65 are registered online. 

Bank of Ireland today reported an underlying loss before tax €374m for the year to the end of December, reflecting the €1.1 billion it set aside to deal with potential bad loans arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The group said it returned to profitability in the second half of the year.