Saturday 25 November 2017

Fury over bank's 100 cash-free branches

The bank came in for fierce criticism when this newspaper revealed in 2015 that customers were barred from withdrawing less than €700 in cash. Stock picture
The bank came in for fierce criticism when this newspaper revealed in 2015 that customers were barred from withdrawing less than €700 in cash. Stock picture
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Bank of Ireland is set to stop its staff handling cash at counters at more than 100 branches.

The move has infuriated groups representing older customers, as some of them are uncomfortable with digital banking.

The bank confirmed that more than one-in-three branches will no longer accept cash or coins at the counter from the end of this year.

It denied the move was merely to cut costs. It claimed just 3pc of transactions in branches are done at counters.

The bank came in for fierce criticism when this newspaper revealed in 2015 that customers were barred from withdrawing less than €700 in cash.

A spokesman for the bank said it already has a number of cash-free branches, and now wants to convert more branches to what it calls an "advice and self-service" model.

The bank has 250 branches, the largest network in the State. It wants to have 100 cash-free branches by the end of the year.

Customers who need cash will be able to lodge or withdraw cash from self-service machines in the affected branches.

However, they will not be able to withdraw sums over €1,300, or transact foreign currency and coin services within these branches.

A bank spokesman said business customers, who handle a lot of cash, will have to use different branches that retain the traditional cash-handling services at counters.

The spokesman said there had been a rapid decline in cash transactions in branches.

Justin Moran of advocacy group Age Action said: "It's very disappointing to see Bank of Ireland doing this."

He said the majority of people aged 65 and over have never been online. Many of them want to do their financial business over the counter with bank staff they know and trust, he said.

"We'd be very worried that thousands of older people are going to be left behind as banks try to push people to do their transactions online while reducing the range of services local branches can provide," he added.

Irish Independent

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