Shocking Decision by AIB to Shut More Bank Branches Must Be Stopped
20 July 2021
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
- AIB must halt proposed bank closures until banking review has been completed
- Minister must leverage 71% stake in AIB to prevent the closure of local branches
- Moratorium on branch closures and staff cuts required for State-owned bank
Speaking after the announcement by AIB that they are to close 15 branches, the Labour Party’s Finance Spokesperson Deputy Ged Nash said:
“The decision by AIB to close 15 branches, which comes on the back of its recent decision to close 60% of its network in Northern Ireland, is nothing short of scandalous. While society is beginning to open up, AIB like other banks is using the cover of Covid-19 to close down viable community bank branches without any proper review or consultation with relevant stakeholders, including customers and staff.
“The majority State-owned AIB must make their intentions clear and reassure staff and customers that they will not follow Bank of Ireland with a frenzy of unjustifiable closures. Will their plans end here or do they plan more closures?
“The Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe must quickly step-in and use his leverage over the majority State-owned AIB to at least pause any consideration of branch closures until such time as the banking review which he says he is committed to undertaking has been completed.
“AIB’s announcement on plans to close branches has once again shown the need for a full, frank and informed debate on the future of banking involving all affected stakeholders, a call that has been made time and again by the Financial Services Union (FSU) and one the government has only belatedly supported. We still await the terms of reference of the review and there is now a real urgency about this as the banking landscape changes by the day.
“The Minister for Finance must also come out to publicly clarify if and when he made aware of this decision as required under the Relationship Framework Agreement between the Minister and AIB.
“Since last August I have repeatedly called for a moratorium on branch closures and job cuts in the banking sector. Yet nearly one year on we are yet to see any action from a government which continues to stand idly-by while banks in which we hold significant shareholdings continue to leave communities without a local bank branch.
“The Minister must now finally act and bring in a long-overdue moratorium on branch closure and staff cuts at the three banks in which the State holds a majority shareholding, namely Permanent TSB (74%), AIB (71%) and BOI (14%).”