Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has described the decision of Bank of Ireland to set a minimum cash withdrawal of €700 for customers at the counter in its bank branches as seriously retrograde strep which is contrary to the concept of providing a personal banking service for customers.
Deputy McGrath commented “€700 represents three weeks pension for an older person. Many bank customers have are unwilling to use with ATMs. This is not simple a question of digital literacy, it is very often down to security concerns regarding taking out cash in full view on a main street outside a bank branch.
“The rules in relation to depositing cash are more restrictive, with a proposed €3,000 minimum for a customer making a transaction over the counter. This will inevitably lead to more people keeping larger amounts of cash at home. At a time of heightened concern about burglaries around the country, it is very difficult to justify.
“Bank branches have already been stripped of most direct interaction between staff and customers. While this will undoubtedly lead some cost savings for Bank of Ireland and other banks which have made similar changes, it will destroy the personal relationship which used to exist between a bank and its customers. On entering a modern bank branch nowadays, you are confronted with an array of machines and very often have to walk down the back of the branch to meet a human. Is this the face of modern banking we want to encourage?
“I am calling on Bank of Ireland to re-consider this proposal. The actual cost savings are likely to be relatively small but the anxiety it will cause older people will be considerable. The Minister for Finance has a public interest director on the board of Bank of Ireland. He should communicate, through his representative, a strong message that Bank of Ireland has an obligation to maintain a quality branch based service for its customers.”