A rural TD is considering closing his AIB account because of the bank’s decision to remove cash services from his local branch.
Independent Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice has joined the chorus of voices who have heavily criticised AIB for the move.
It comes as AIB is set remove cash facilities at 70 branches across the country between now and October 21.
Mr Fitzmaurice’s local branch, of Castlerea, is set to go cashless from September 30.
“The Government put a lot of money into AIB to keep it afloat years ago. At the time it was probably the right thing to do,” he said.
“I bank with them myself in Castlerea and to be honest about it I was reading the email that was sent and I was wondering what is this building becoming where they’re closing down the services? It’s basically becoming a walk-in service that you’ll maybe talk to someone and go for a mortgage. Other than that it’s nothing else.
“I’m considering, at the moment, pulling everything from AIB.”
Mr Fitzmaurice also works an agricultural contractor and he said businesspeople in smaller towns will be impacted particularly by the changes.
Speaking on The Tonight Show on Virgin Media, he said the Central Bank needs to work with Credit Unions, as he believes they will ultimately replace commercial banks in rural areas.
“The Credit Unions will be the new AIB or Bank of Ireland in the local areas to help people,” he said.
“I know people and young people are going card but... I do contracting [and] most farmers pay you by cheque. They have a duplicate cheque book. They’re able to give the duplicate part of it to the accountant and that’s how they do things.
“We seem to be now a forgotten people in parts of Ireland with what they are doing.”
He added that lodging cheques in a post office is a “slow cumbersome process” and if significant resources are not pumped into local post offices, they will not able to replace the services which AIB branches previously provided.