BAILED-out Allied Irish Banks (AIB) has announced it is to shut down a number of branches. While no branch in Offaly will close, Portarlington is set to close its doors on October 26, with Moate in County Westmeath also pencilled in for closure.
The news has been greeted with dismay and anger locally. “This is a disgrace to our town,” commented Ann Dunne of the Portarlington Combined Residents Association.
However, AIB insist there will be little inconvenience to their customers in Portarlington, informing them that the branches will relocate to the branch at Lyster Square, Portlaoise.
In a message to customers Maeve Saunders, AIB Portarlington, explained, “I know that you may be disappointed to see your branch closing but I want to assure you that we will be making every effort to minimise any disruption an inconvenience. “Staff from Portarlington will move to Portlaoise, transferring all account records, so customers will not have to change anything. Account numbers, cheque books, direct debits, standing orders, ATM/debit cards and any credit facilities and terms on these facilities will remain exactly the same.”
An AIB spokeswoman insisted there will be no compulsory redundancies.
“Staff are going to be redeployed as part of the restructuring. We have around 346 people working in the affected branches. Not all of them are full-time members of staff,” she said.
The Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) described the announcement as ‘traumatic’ for the workforce.
General secretary Larry Broderick said the closures reflect a piecemeal dismantling of Ireland’s banking infrastructure.
“It will also come as a major shock to customers in these areas - who have come to rely on the service from their local branch,” said Mr Broderick.
Responding to the announcement of branch closures by AIB, IFA President John Bryan said, “The AIB branch closures, coming in the wake of recent similar announcements by Permanent TSB and NIB, will cause concern among customers. It is critical that the bank moves to reassure its farmer customers that a personal banking service will be maintained.
@A strong working relationship between the farmer and his bank is an important part of any viable farm business. We have seen in recent weeks the continuing need for a responsive banking system that is aware of the challenges of the farming sector in 2012, arising from the difficult weather conditions and soaring input costs”.