The College Road branch is one of six which will be closing.

Six bank branches to close

Six AIB branches in Cork are to close over the next few months, it was announced by the bank this week.

AIB said on Tuesday that it had completed a “detailed strategic review” due to changes in how customers interact with banks, a trend that has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank said.

Following what it called “the unrelenting shift in customer preference for digital banking” over the last number of years, AIB announced the amalgamation of 15 branches in locations across the country by December this year.

On 24 September, accounts at the College Road branch will moving to the Western Road branch as well as those from Blackrock Road which will move to South Mall.

Little Island will move to Midleton on 8 October, North Main Street to South Mall on 22 October, Douglas Court to Douglas Road on 12 November and Ballyphehane to South Mall on 26 November.

AIB said customers have increased their use of digital wallets in the first half of 2021. Volumes were up by 85 per cent compared to H1 2020. These changes, and some service overlaps, mean the bank is merging a number of branches. The amalgamation of these branches will happen on a phased basis, commencing in September 2021 and to be completed by December 2021.

AIB Managing Director Retail Banking, Jim O’Keeffe said: “We remain committed to maintaining a strong presence in the communities we serve throughout Ireland, and we will continue to do so with over 170 branches. However, inevitably and in line with the evolution of banking and customer needs, we are seeing a requirement to evolve our services to customers.

“We see that in overall digital usage, with customers interacting with our app more than 1.54 million times a day compared with just 35,000 daily branch visits. That convenience at the tip of our customers’ fingers means they are using branches less.

“We will do everything we can to guide our customers through the transition as we take another step towards ensuring a sustainable future for AIB’s branch network,” he concluded.

Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD said the announcement that AIB will close its branches in Ballyphehane and Blackrock Road is “another blow to the local economy, to the workers and their families, to customers and small businesses.”

Labour Party Cllr John Maher described it as a “disgraceful decision” on social media and said AIB “must reverse this decision”.