A 'SUBSTANTIAL' number of the AIB's customers in Tarbert are to take their business elsewhere as AIB bosses moved decisively to close the branch this week.
Locals forcefully presented a number of suggestions to AIB bosses over the course of the last few months in a desperate bid to save their local bank branch. There has been a bank in Tarbert for over 140 years and locals say its closure on Friday, October 26, next will greatly undermine confidence in the already beleagured local economy and force customers to make an inconvenient journey to Listowel.
Suggestions for a reduced service made by locals were categorically ruled out by AIB regional heads this week, prompting deep resentment among the community.
"People are very angry and from talking to the AIB's customers here it is clear that quite a substantial number of people will leave for other banks," Tarbert Development Association spokesman John Fox told The Kerryman.
The local development group spearheaded talks with the banks on behalf of the community. Among the suggestions they made were the continuance of the branch until at least next March - when the nearest other branch in Foynes is due to close. The AIB is also closing branches in Glin and in Park Road, Killarney.
"We also proposed to AIB management to leave the Tarbert branch and the Foynes branch open for two days' each per week until the economy recovers, but they weren't for listening," Mr Fox said.
"Had they opted for this course AIB would have kept its custom base in both towns and would have continued its historic presence in Tarbert but it isn't to be and there is a general sense of deep disappointment here this week ahead of the closure," he added.
Customers in Tarbert are particularly angry about the loss of the personal service the local branch represented; where people knew staff well and were able to conduct their business with relative ease.