AIB’s decision to make 70 of its 170 branches cashless will disproportionately impact rural communities, a local TD has said.
Claire Kerrane TD said that there are many vulnerable customers living in rural areas who are not given sufficient consideration when decisions like these are made.
AIB announced on Tuesday that seven branches in Co. Galway will be made cashless later this year, with the bank claiming the demand for cash services is declining.
The seven branches in Galway to go cashless from 21 October are Ballinasloe, Clifden, Gort, Galway, Oranmore, Salthill, Spiddal and The Lab.
The bank is expanding its relationship with An Post in a move that will see customers being able to access more cash and cheque services in 920 post offices across the State.
But Deputy Kerrane argues that this is ‘not a solution in itself’ and that in some cases, customers will have to travel 30km or more to access an AIB branch with full cash services.
She said that with poor public transport in many rural parts, and that people simply will not get there.
“Accessing cash is a fairly basic service provided by any Bank and the loss of these services will impact on customers and businesses,” the Roscommon-Galway TD said.
“The removal of the ATMs in particular will make it much more difficult for customers accessing cash in these rural towns.”
The Sinn Féin TD added that the announcement reminds us again that we need to have a national conversation about banking in Ireland, especially for vulnerable customers in this digital age and for people living in rural communities.