Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says new measures being introduced by Bank of Ireland for in-branch banking are retrograde and pose potential security risks for older people.
The bank is putting minimum lodgement and withdrawal requirements in place for over the counter transactions. Anyone lodging less than €3,000 or withdrawing less than €700 will have to use ATMs.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “This is an extremely regressive step, which will have a huge impact on personal and business customers. Banking services have already been curtailed in many parts of Donegal, with the closure of branches in smaller towns and villages. The remaining branches have also seen a reduction of services, with certain services only available on certain days. Now even these services are being diminished at the expense of customers.
“Over the past number of years we have seen a steady increase in bank charges, while at the same time customers were being encouraged to switch over to online and paperless banking. These new restrictions are effectively cutting out personal banking and forcing people to adapt to in-branch or ATM technology. It begs the question, what are people paying fees for?
“These changes could pose major security issues for older people, who are less likely to be computer literate. Many may be reluctant to adapt to this new way of banking and may revert to keeping money at home rather than lodging it in their local branch. With concerns about rising crime levels, people may feel as if they are stuck between a rock and a hard place with regard to where they can keep their cash.
“Small businesses will also be impacted – the minimum €3,000 lodgement level is extreme. Many businesses are reliant on the relationships they have with bank workers and this contributes to seamless lodgement and withdrawal arrangements. The fact that business customers will now be forced to use ATMs to lodge large sums of money makes no sense and is a security concern in itself.
“Bank of Ireland needs to seriously reconsider this decision. It is anti-business and anti-community and it penalises loyal customers. Bank of Ireland has a duty to provide a quality service to its customers but these new measures will make life more difficult for business and personal customers alike”.