Leitrim escapes AIB branch closures

The three AIB branches in Leitrim escaped the axe last week and will continue to provide banking services locally. Leitrim is one of just five counties to be “not affected” by the 67 AIB branch closures around the country.

The three AIB branches in Leitrim escaped the axe last week and will continue to provide banking services locally. Leitrim is one of just five counties to be “not affected” by the 67 AIB branch closures around the country.

The AIB branch in Ballinamore has been a talking point for the last few years, rumours about its closure seem to surface every six months, but the last bank in the town is holding on and will not be shut despite the scaling back of AIB banks around Ireland.

The Manorhamilton branch also escaped closure, but just up the road Bundoran will lose it’s AIB bank in 2013. The busy Carrick-on-Shannon branch was never up for closure, but from October 26 it could employ more staff as the Boyle branch relocates into Carrick.

As well as Bundoran, Co Donegal will also lose AIB branches in Dunfanaghy, Milford, Falcarragh, Gweedore, Raphoe and Moville.

The closure of the Bundoran branch could effect Kinlough customers, but provisions will be made at Kinlough Post Office for cash lodgement and withdrawl while the branch will be merged into Ballyshannon. Bundoran Town Council is to hold an emergency this Thursday, August 2 at 2pm to discuss the announcement.

Roscommon got two hits with Boyle and Ballaghderreen both closing in October, while in Sligo Collooney’s branch will move to the main AIB bank in Sligo town. Collooney residents are expected to meet this Thursday, August 2 in the Teeling Centre at 8.30pm to evaluate the closure of the branch.

AIB is closing one in four of its branches to reduce costs further, as part of efforts to return to profitability by 2014. The bank announced the closure of 67 of 267 branches under plans to reduce costs by almost a fifth, or €350 million, up to 2014.

David Duffy, AIB Chief Executive, said the closures will not lead to compulsory redundancies. Staff at locations due for closure will relocate to nearby AIB branches.

The same services will be on offer to customers of closed branches at 90 post offices through the extension of an existing arrangement with An Post. The ICMSA and IFA have both come out agaisnt the closures.

The bank is reducing staff by 2,500, one in every five staff, and cutting salaries by up to 15%, as it aims to become profitable again by 2014 and start returning some of the €21 billion bailout funding to the State.

Lending rates are being raised and deposit rates are being reduced and the bank will aim to wean itself off the costly Government’s guarantee scheme by 2014 under plans to return to viability.

AIB raised the interest rate on its standard variable mortgages, which account for 20% of the bank’s mortgages, by half a percentage point to 3.5%.

From late October, bank services in Post Offices will be expanded to allow AIB customers in affected areas to lodge cheques in the vicinity of closing branches.

This is in addition to the current facility for lodging and withdrawing cash using AIB Debit/ATM cards and paying AIB Credit Card bills. These services will be available in Post Offices on the basis of six days a week.

AIB will also launch four mobile banks which will cover 31 rural locations including Donegal and Mayo.

Over 750,000 customers are now actively using AIB Phone & Internet Banking and AIB Mobile Banking of which 215,000 customers are using AIB Mobile Banking.