Ulster fiasco makes AIB plan more difficult
The timing of the announcement of AIB's plans to drastically prune its 270-strong branch network could not have been worse. Coming in the midst of the ongoing technology meltdown at Ulster Bank, AIB will have to work hard to convince its customers that electronic banking really is the future.
Until the Ulster Bank fiasco exposed the downside, the trend towards electronic banking seemed to be an unstoppable one. The future, the banks assured us, would be electronic, with the old-fashioned branches going the way of the dodo. After almost three weeks of chaos, Ulster Bank customers, at least, are unlikely to be convinced.
AIB plans to encourage customers to conduct a far greater share of their banking transactions either online, by mobile phone or through the 1,100-strong post office network, which is expanding its agreement with AIB to offer services such as cashing cheques and creating direct debits.