BofI temporarily closes 101 branches as Covid-19 spreads
Outlets will continue to provide ATM services
Bank of Ireland is temporarily closing 101 branches, almost 40 per cent of its locations, amid the ongoing spread of Covid-19. The bank will redirect staff to help larger offices and contact centres cope with a surge in queries from customers looking for payment breaks and other support during the economic crisis.
The bank, which has the largest branch network in the country having avoided an industry-wide trend of permanently closing locations following the financial crisis, said on Monday that 161 branches would remain open as normal, with 148 of these providing a full service, including counter service for cash, coins and cheques.
Every Bank of Ireland branch would continue to provide an external ATM cash withdrawal service, it said. Locations that remain open will continue the provision of prioritised services for over-65s and carers between 10am and 11am, Monday to Friday.
The bank said it had seen a fall in footfall in its branches over the past 10 days, while at the same time there had been an increase in customers needing a range of other supports.
“We’re constantly reviewing our operations to ensure we are providing the right supports for customers through this challenging period. These changes help us to respond to the most pressing needs of our customers right now – that’s support in managing the impact of coronavirus on their personal finances and on their businesses,” said Gavin Kelly, chief executive of the group’s Retail Ireland unit.
“These changes also refocus our branch network to our larger locations, which will help us support social distancing. This is extremely important for our customers and colleagues, whose safety and wellbeing is our priority. This will complement the enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures we have in place in our branches.”
A spokesman for AIB, which has more than 200 branches, said the group was “doing everything in our power to keep our branch network open and will respond to the evolving situation”.
“The safety of our staff and customers is of paramount importance to AIB. In line with this we are following the best advice from authorities and have put in place social distancing for our staff,” he said, adding that the group was continuing to scenario plan to maintain services and the safety of staff.
Ulster Bank, which has the third-largest branch network in the Republic, continues to operate at 88 locations. However, according to a spokeswoman, there may be temporary exceptions when staffing is an issue, with any such changes notified on its website.
List of bank branches that are closing
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Grand Canal Square
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St James Hosp
University Of Limerick Campus Branch