AIB will close eight of its 15 branches in Northern Ireland following a strategic review.
The move comes just days after rival Danske announced plans to close four of its remaining 32 branches in the north, where Bank of Ireland is also closing 15 of 28 branches. With 11 active retail banks, the northern banking market is more competitive than that of the Republic, but branches are under pressure as day-to-day banking moves online.
AIB told staff yesterday that it will close eight branches in 2021.
The bank reported a 33% reduction in the number of active customers using its branch network and a 52% increase in online digital payments since late 2017.
“These undeniable and irreversible trends have in turn influenced our strategy and led to the decision to close branches which are no longer sustainable. Our goal will be to minimize the impact for customers who continue to use the branch while further improving online banking experiences, ”said Brian Gillan, Head of Retail & NI at AIB.
The bank also has a partnership agreement with the UK Post Office allowing AIB customers to use the facilities of 500 post offices in the North.
The review of AIB’s operations in Northern Ireland was pointed out by CEO Colin Hunt during a recent appearance before the Oireachtas finance committee.
AIB said it will continue to provide a full service offering to retail and business customers and also improve its mortgage and business lending services in the Northern Ireland market.
But the bank said customer demand for bank branches had declined, and that trend had been accelerated by the pandemic. Closing branches and associated ATMs would help strengthen the bank’s sustainability, AIB said.
AIB said it would write to clients of branch closures in advance to inform them of changes and alternative ways of banking.
“We assure clients that we remain fully committed to them and to Northern Ireland, providing them with a full range of personal and business banking services, as well as an increased focus on business and mortgage lending. . Our priority is to ensure the bank has a sustainable future in Northern Ireland, which allows us to support our clients and play our part in strengthening the economy at large. “
AIB said the planned closures will involve consultation with the Financial Services Union, which represents a large part of its staff.
A voluntary departure indemnity program will be available for staff, as well as the possibility of moving within the AIB.