Bank of Ireland announces significant changes to branch network and local banking services
- Branch network will reduce by 88, from 257 locations to 169, from September;
- New partnership with An Post will offer customers access to a range of banking services at more than 900 locations;
- Changes respond to the acceleration in digital banking which has now reached a ‘tipping point’, and follow rollout of range of new digital services during 2020;
- €12 million to be invested in resized branch network by the end of 2022.
Bank of Ireland has today announced a range of significant changes to its branch network and the provision of local banking services. These changes respond to the acceleration in the uptake of digital banking, while also protecting access to banking for communities in every part of the country.
By the end of September, the number of Bank of Ireland branches will reduce by 88, the first significant change to the Bank’s physical footprint in almost a decade. The branches closing are predominately self-service locations which do not offer a counter service. The Bank will continue to operate an extensive branch network with a strong nationwide presence of 169 locations. In Northern Ireland, the branch network will also reduce by 15 (from 28 to 13).
This will be complemented by a new partnership with An Post which will offer Bank of Ireland customers banking services at more than 900 locations across Ireland. This will include over the counter cash and cheque lodgements and cash withdrawals, with longer weekday opening hours than traditional bank branches as well as Saturday opening. The closing Bank of Ireland branches all have a post office within, on average, less than 500 metres.
Francesca McDonagh, Group CEO of Bank of Ireland commented: “Technology is evolving, and customers are using branches less, year on year on year. COVID-19 has accelerated this changing behaviour, and we’ve seen a seismic shift towards digital banking over the past 12 months.
“We’ve now reached a tipping point between online and offline banking. Our mobile app is our most popular way to bank, with almost half a million customer logins every day and traffic up by a third in the past two years. 7 in 10 personal customer product applications are made digitally, and we expect this to grow to over 8 in 10 by the end of this year. In contrast, the number of people visiting branches has sharply declined, and is now just over half of what it was in 2017. Footfall at the branches which are closing is down even more, by c.60% since 2017.
“That’s why we’ve announced changes to our branch network. However, through a new partnership with An Post, we continue to protect local access to physical banking for those who want it while also operating a nationwide branch network of 169 locations. Combined, our customers will be able to bank at about 1,100 locations nationwide.
“We know news like this can cause concern for some customers, and for the communities that we serve. We’re not making these changes immediately – no branches will close in the next six months. That allows us to ensure the An Post partnership is up and running before any branches close, and gives us time to communicate fully with all our customers about every option available to them online, in a nearby BOI branch, or at a local post office.”
Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail said: ‘We welcome this new partnership which will offer withdrawal and lodgement services to Bank of Ireland customers across the An Post network of 940 post offices nationwide. This partnership further advances our mission to provide community banking on the doorstep for the customers and communities we serve. We are glad to have been able to work with Bank of Ireland on behalf of personal and SME customers.
“We, at An Post, continue working to build a sustainable and successful national post office network that’s modernised, re-invigorated and offering new and relevant products and services for communities.”
The changes announced today are part of an ongoing process of banking change that has been underway for more than a decade, but which has been accelerating in recent years. Between 2017 and 2020 digital usage has increased by one third while footfall in the branches to be closed reduced by 60%.
To keep pace with rapidly changing customer banking preferences, the Bank is continually investing in new services. Last year the Bank launched a new mobile app with 50% more functionality, including Apple and Google Pay. Today, customers can open a current account online in six minutes. Additionally, customers can complete the entire mortgage process online, and by the end of 2020 online mortgage sales were over 40% of all first time buyer applications in individual weeks.
The changes being announced today include:
- Branches: Bank of Ireland will operate a smaller branch network of 169 locations nationwide, a reduction of 88. The majority of closing locations are self-service branches which do not offer counter services. The Bank will invest €12 million in the remaining branches and this, alongside continuing investment in technology, will ensure a wide range of digital and physical banking options for our customers. In Northern Ireland, the branch network will also reduce by 15 (from 28 to 13).
- Partnership with An Post: Bank of Ireland has agreed a new partnership with An Post which will allow personal and business customers use their local post office for a range of banking services – including to withdraw cash and make cash and cheque lodgements – at no additional cost. An Post operates more than 900 post offices nationwide, with longer weekday opening hours than traditional bank branches as well as Saturday opening. The closing Bank of Ireland branches all have a post office within, on average, less than 500 metres.
- No location will be left without access to financial services or cash facilities: Many locations will see an enhancement of services through our partnership with An Post. However, in the small number of locations (4) where there is no alternative ATM available, Bank of Ireland will maintain an ATM.
- Supports for customers: Full information is available on bankofireland.com, and the Bank will also be writing to all customers about the upcoming changes and the range of services that will be available through An Post. To further support over-65s and carers the Bank has a dedicated support line on 1800 946 146 (open 9.30am to 4.30pm, Mon-Fri).