Waterford branches to close
It's the end of an era for many Bank of Ireland customers in Waterford as the Ardkeen, Kilmacthomas and Lismore branches shut their doors permanently. It's part of the nationwide closure of 88 branches of the financial institute. Across the island of Ireland, 103 outlets in total will close today.
Bank of Ireland made the announcement of its closures in March. The move reduces its network in the Republic by about a third and its locations in the North by more than half. At the time, the bank said Covid-19 had accelerated a shift in the industry towards digital banking.
Change in customer behaviour when it comes to banking
Bank of Ireland, led by chief executive Francesca McDonagh, reported an underlying loss of €374 million for 2020, after setting aside €1.1 billion of provisions for an expected surge in losses resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The charge was at the lower end of the €1.1 billion to €1.3 billion range it had predicted in the middle of 2020, and the bank forecast that its provisions for this year will be “materially lower”. Ms McDonagh said:
For many years, the trend to digital banking has been evident, with customers using branches less and less. Covid-19 has accelerated this changing behaviour, and we’ve seen a seismic shift towards digital banking over the past 12 months.
She added that there's now a "tipping point" in customer preferences between online and offline banking.
More than 920 post offices are now providing day-to-day banking services six day a week. An Post has already been offering this service in conjunction with AIB for more than 20 years.
Bank of Ireland announced in August 2020 that it was seeking to eliminate the equivalent of 1,400 full-time jobs – or 13.5 per cent of its workforce in the coming years.
It was confirmed in November 2020 that 1,450 roles will be cut by the end of 2021, with a total of 1,700 full- and part-time staff taking up a voluntary-redundancy offer.
The programme has cost €189 million, within a €250 million restructuring budget set in 2018 and will cut its annual staff bill by €114 million when completed.