Banks suffer from cold spell as raft of branches close

Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland and PTSB all took early decision to close outlets

AIB’s office in Ballsbridge, Dublin, during a cold spell in 2010. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

AIB’s office in Ballsbridge, Dublin, during a cold spell in 2010. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

A number of financial services institutions closed on Wednesday on the back of the red weather warning issued by Met Éireann.

Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland all closed a number of branches because adverse weather conditions had the potential to affect the safety of staff and customers.

Ulster Bank closed branches across the East coast and in the midlands.

“To ensure the safety of all our staff and customers following the red weather warning issued by Met Éireann, Ulster Bank branches in Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath and mobile branches in Limerick, Midlands and Cavan will be closed on Wednesday 28th February. Our telephony, online banking, mobile banking and ATM services are all still available,” a spokeswoman said.

Permanent TSB closed branches and a call centre in areas covered by the weather warning. The move meant that over-the-counter services and normal operator-based phone banking services were not operating.

The lender said that all other services, including online banking and scheduled debits and credits, were operating as normal. Branches outside the status red regions also opened on Wednesday.

AIB criticised

AIB was meanwhile criticised by the Financial Services Union (FSU) for not uniformly closing branches in counties impacted by the weather warning.

“We understand that both Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland made the right call early in the morning to close branches in counties impacted by Met Éireann’s level red weather alert. This was the right decision - it minimises travel in dangerous conditions and puts the health and safety of staff, and customers, at the top of the agenda,” said Billy Barrett, an industrial relations official with the FSU.

“We are annoyed that AIB has not adopted a similar clear cut position. At present AIB is saying that decisions to open or close a branch in level red areas will be made at local level and staff are expected to travel to work. It’s the wrong call,” Mr Barrett said.

Additionally, state institutions including the Central Bank and the courts have closed. While the physical Central Bank building is closed, the bank has contingency plans in place and all staff have been advised to work from home.

Separately, the British Irish Chamber of Commerce was forced to cancel an event it was due to hold in Dublin on Thursday. The “Brexit one year on” event was cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions.