Banks, banking services and customers

 

Sir, – Just like Enid O’Dowd (July 13th), I have been a customer of Ulster Bank for many years, having opened an account at the Dorset Street branch in Dublin in 1963. I am one of those small people who has never been overdrawn in the last 55 years and never troubled them very much.

They recently closed the Dorset Street branch and gave me the option of transferring to either the O’Connell Street or Phibsborough branch. I opted for the Phibsborough branch, even though it causes me some inconvenience. Shortly afterwards they wrote to me asking me to confirm my address, which has remained unchanged for nearly 50 years, by producing two recent utility bills. I do not receive hard-copy utility bills any longer as, acting on the advice of the bank, I pay all by direct debit. It was only after some difficulty that a staff member in the branch was prepared to accept its own statement of my account as proof of my residence. Furthermore I can no longer phone the branch office as all telephonic communication is rerouted through Belfast.

It’s a pity the banks were not as vigilant with the big borrowers who brought the country to penury, for then they might not have had to curtail the services to the small people. – Yours, etc,

LOUIS O’FLAHERTY,

Santry,

Dublin 9.

Sir, – Frank Greaney (July 14th) misunderstands my letter (July 13th).

My branch is not closing. From next month, 12 normal services, including fast lodgements and foreign exchange, are being terminated without any consultation with customers.

Mr Greaney says his local branch In Formby, Liverpool, closed, and while initially he was concerned, the closure introduced him to online banking. He concludes by asking, “Local banks: who needs them?”

I have used online banking for years. However, it does not remove the need for other banking services for all customers. How do those who receive cheques and cash in their business or private lives deal with these receipts via online banking? How do customers needing foreign exchange get the money via online banking?

Yes, you can get foreign exchange at the airport but who wants to queue up, possibly miss their flight and get a poorer exchange rate? I prefer to be organised and have the relevant currency at the start of my journey.

Customers have different needs. If banks don’t supply normal banking services, the removal of their banking licences should be considered. – Yours, etc,

ENID O’DOWD,

Ranelagh,

Dublin 6.