Bank of Ireland stands alone in imposing branch restrictions

Confusion and surprise across industry over limits announced by bank

Sources working across the Irish banking sector have expressed confusion and surprise over Bank of Ireland’s unilateral decision to impose severe restrictions on the amounts customers can lodge or withdraw over the counter across its branch network.

Sources working across the Irish banking sector have expressed confusion and surprise over Bank of Ireland’s unilateral decision to impose severe restrictions on the amounts customers can lodge or withdraw over the counter across its branch network.

 

Sources working across the Irish banking sector have expressed confusion and surprise over Bank of Ireland’s unilateral decision to impose severe restrictions on the amounts customers can lodge or withdraw over the counter across its branch network.

Under the new rules to be rolled out across its network later this month, Bank of Ireland customers will not be allowed make withdrawals of less than €700 using the assistance of bank tellers. Customers who wish to withdraw less that that amount will have no choice but to use ATMs.

Cash lodgements of up to €3,000 and lodgements involving less than 15 cheques will also have to be processed using the bank’s dedicated lodgement ATMs and the bank has instructed its staff to refuse to process smaller amounts for its customers.

Typically speaking there is only one such lodgement machine in a branch which means that not only will many customers be forced to use automated machines instead of being allowed human interaction but waiting times are also likely to increase at peak times.

None of the other main banks in the State impose any such restrictions

When contacted, Allied Irish Bank said customers were free to withdraw as much or lodge as much as they wished over the counter and there were no plans in the foreseeable future to change that policy.

A spokeswoman for Ulster Bank, meanwhile, said the bank did not “currently have a minimum cash amount for lodgements or withdrawals via a bank teller/bank employee in a branch for current account purposes and we have no plans to change this. This service is available to customers any day of the week in all branches.”

And Permanent TSB said it had no restrictions in place and no plans to introduce any.

In a statement Bank of Ireland said :“Bank of Ireland understands these changes may be a new way of banking for some of our customers, and the branch teams will be available to help and guide them through this change.”

The bank said over-the-counter business and personal transactions last year made up only 4 per cent of total transactions with customers increasingly choosing to use in-branch devices or the bank’s digital channels.

Its statement did not mollify many of those who are likely to be affected by the changes. Leadong advocacy group for the elderly Age Action accused Bank of Ireland of ignoring the needs of its older customers .

The majority of people aged 60 and over have never been online and according to the most recent National Digital Strategy document only 3 per cent of people aged over 75 have ever used the internet.

“Many of our members are already frustrated with how difficult some banks make it to engage face-to-face,” Age Action spokesman Justin Moran said.

“The changes proposed by Bank of Ireland, trying to force people to carry out their business online, are only going to make that worse and it’s clear older people were completely ignored in making this decision,” he said.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) said the changes would cause great difficulty for some farmers who are not familiar with the bank’s online system, and urged the bank to reconsider the new thresholds.