Now cashier counters to shut at 3pm in Permanent TSB
CUSTOMERS of Permanent TSB have criticised a move by the bank to restrict the opening hours of its manned cashier desks at all of its branches.
From Monday, the cashier desks will shut at 3pm across the bank's 70 branches.
The bank denied that this was a precursor to more branch closures, or that there would be further cuts to customer services. Permanent TSB closed 16 branches and converted two branches into self-service operations two years ago.
A spokesman for the bank said a trial that has just ended at a third of the bank's branches, of reduced cashier desk services, had led to "very few complaints".
Up to recently, all branches had offered a manned cashier service between 10am and 5pm, but from Monday this service would shut at 3pm across the branch network, the spokesman said.
Customers could use automated cashier services in branches instead.
The spokesman insisted the decision was in line with what other banks were doing.
Customers who contacted this newspaper were dismayed by the move. One customer, who did not want to be named, said he uses the manned cashier service every week to withdraw his wages and pay bills. He was not computer literate, he said.
Both AIB and Ulster Bank said they had no plans to reduce cashier services in their branches.
Bank of Ireland said that it had reduced counter cash services on Wednesdays and Thursdays in some rural branches.
"Customers can continue to choose how they bank with us and we are one of the last remaining multi-channel providers," a spokeswoman for Bank of Ireland said.
Meanwhile, Permanent TSB said it had strong demand for its tracker transfer product, which goes live on Monday.
The new product will allow customers with tracker mortgages and customers in negative equity to trade up or down from their current homes – while keeping a tracker interest rate plus an additional 1pc for the entire duration outstanding of their current tracker mortgage.
The bank said it would accept applications for the new product from Monday and had generated a strong pipeline of applications from interested customers since the product was unveiled in late February.
The bank has also announced that the tracker portability offer is being extended to customers who have moved to a rented property and are renting out their home.
Such customers may qualify if they wish to sell their home and buy a new property.