Boucher has a vision for cashless banking at BoI
Published 05/11/2015 | 02:30
Richie Boucher has a vision for the future of banking, but it is a concept many people are not interested in.
The head of Bank of Ireland wants to be a trailblazer for a new kind of banking.
This is one where branches no longer accept cash or dole out customers' cash.
Instead, there will be branches were the staff are there to sell you stuff - pensions, mortgages, investments and credit cards.
Branches will have plenty of small little offices where you can have a chat about your investments and deposits.
There will be free stuff - coffee, wifi and phone calls to a bank call centre will not cost a cent.
There will comfortable chairs where you can sit leafing through the bank's brochure outlining its investment product range.
And if you have cash, or want to withdraw cash, then you will have to do that yourself through self-service machines and ATMs.
All of this is set to turn traditional banking on its head. Gone will be the day when you will walk into a branch with a bag of coins, a cheque or a few €20 notes and expect a staff member to take this off you, stamp your receipt and update your account.
In Mr Boucher's future, bank consumers will do what used to be regarded as basic banking.
No more will there be a situation where you know the branch staff by name, can ring them if you have a problem, and will know the manager.
More branches will also likely be closed, with other banks copying Bank of Ireland's cashless, digital banking move.
But Mr Boucher's bid to restrict cash transactions over the counter, and limit lodgements, has hit a snag.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan joined a chorus of critics who feel the headlong rush into cashless banking will hurt older people and those who have limited experience of the internet.
There is no little irony that all of this emerged in the week when one of the biggest technology conferences in the world was taking place in Dublin.
But that is how it is. People are outraged at what they see as penny-pinching by the bank.
They fear other banks will go the same way, reducing further the number of branches in rural areas with more staff being laid-off.
That has caused Bank of Ireland to climb down and say it will allow "vulnerable" customers to continue to transact in cash at counters.
But just don't bet on Bank of Ireland, and other banks, foisting the cashless banking on us eventually.