A Bundoran Town Councillor has expressed fears that banking services in the town are to be reduced even further in the near future.
Sinn Féin’s Diarmaid Doherty says he’s been told Bank of Ireland customers won’t be able to carry out cash transactions on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Bundoran branch.
He told the Donegal Democrat: “I was in contact with Bank Of Ireland officials this week and I expressed my concern at the intended reduction in services within the next few weeks and the possible withdrawal of the BOI from Bundoran in the future.
“I was told the reason for the reduction in services at the Bundoran Branch was due to staff numbers being reduced from 4 to 3. I also learned that up to 60 branches nationwide will be affected by a reduction in services.
“I was informed that the Bundoran Branch will be open for business as usual on Monday, Tuesdays and Fridays. However due to staff reductions, Wednesdays and Thursdays customers will not be able to lodge or withdraw money over the counter. Only customer enquiries and customer care will be available on these days.
“These cuts in services on Wednesdays and Thursdays will mean that Bundoran will only have a fully operational bank three days per week which will have a massive negative effect on the local economy.
“I would urge customers to express their concerns and lobby to keep full services in the town. I will continue to engage with bank officials on this issue and seek clarification on the steps being taken to provide efficient banking services and what exactly the long term plans for the Bundoran branch are.”
The news was confirmed by both the local branch manager Conal Ryan and Anne Mathews, BoI Media Relations Manager.
Mr Ryan said: “This is something that is taking place nationwide and will affect some of the smaller branches, approximately 50 branches in all.
“Bank of Ireland is fully committed to the local community and there will be no further bank closures.
“Customers will not be able to lodge or withdraw cash at the counter on these two days per week. However, Quick Lodgement machines are being installed and this will facilitate safe and secure cash deposits.
“The change probably won’t take place for a couple of months, until all the Quick Lodgement machines have been installed. They’re already in some of the bigger branches and the feedback has been very positive.
“The reality is that we can’t have all of the services for everyone all of the time over the counter. There are lots of alternatives, such as ATMs, telephone and on-line banking. And it’s a security issue as well. People don’t have to be standing in queues with bags of cash anymore.”
Ms Matthews added: “In making our branches more efficient and more customer-focused we are, amongst other things, centralising routine administrative tasks thereby reducing the cost to serve within our branches and freeing up qualified staff to focus on delivering excellent customer service and generating business.”