AIB branches in Portarlington and Abbeyleix are among sixty-seven nationwide that are to shut down in what the bank has termed ‘changing in response to customer needs’.
However, AIB, who also announced it is raising its standard variable mortgage interest rate by 0.5%, insist there will be little inconvenience to their customers in Portarlington and Abbeyleix, informing them that both branches will relocate to the branch at Lyster Square, Portlaoise.
They’ve also pointed out that a recent deal struck with An Post, which has agreed to extend banking facilities, will also be beneficial.
Customers will be able to lodge cheques and deposits at post offices across the country, which the bank claims could minimise disruption.
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 and inconvenience.”
She added: “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.”
While the bank announced plans in March to lay off 2,500 staff members - one in six of its workforce - by the end of 2013, a spokeswoman indicated 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.”
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.
AIB has set up a helpline number to deal with customer concerns and queries and it is 0818 227 057.