DUBLIN, Ireland - The Bank of Ireland plans to close some 100 branches, as customers increasingly perform banking transactions online.
Bank officials said they will close more than 80 branches in Ireland, and 15 in Northern Ireland, noting the large number of online customers.
"Covid-19 has accelerated this changing behaviour and we've seen a seismic shift towards digital banking over the past 12 months," said Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh, speaking to Irish radio station RTE Radio 1.
As increasing numbers of customers use digital banking, a decision was made to close branches.
"That's why we've also announced changes to our branch network in Ireland and Northern Ireland," said McDonagh.
For those seeking to perform banking transactions in-person, the bank has worked out an agreement with the Irish postal service, An Post, in which some banking can be performed at local post offices.
"This is about putting our resources in, investing, where our customers want to bank with us. Even two years before the pandemic, the number of people visiting branches was down by a quarter.
"In the past 12 months, [branch visits have] gone down by half, and are over 60 percent down in the branches we're closing. In direct contrast, we've seen a massive pick-up in digital usage, including really good take-up of our new mobile app," she said.
Bank of Ireland's closing of branches follows an industry-wide movement to urge customers to bank online.
HSBC has announced it would close 82 branches. And TSB is to close more than 150 branches, with a loss of 1,000 jobs.
In the UK, however, the financial regulator has voiced concern about banks closing branches.
"We are concerned that these activities could have significant consequences for customers. It may be harder than usual to reach all customers under the current restrictions and engage with them on closure proposals effectively for example, small businesses that are temporarily closed," said the FCA in a statement.