Bank of Ireland is being urged to reverse a decision to make counters in some branches cash-free, with criticism that it is detrimental to rural towns.
Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Declan Hurley, said the move would impact business in rural towns like Dunmanway in West Cork, one of the branches to adopt a no cash at the counter policy.
“I am very surprised and disappointed that Bank of Ireland have chosen to introduce a no counter services option. I would be very concerned that introducing such a system will have a serious negative impact on local businesses in the town as they deal in coins on a daily basis,” he said.
Mr Hurley added that he feared it would mean people would travel outside of towns like Dunmanway to do their business.
“I believe that moving to a ‘no counter service’ will be a great inconvenience to the general public, who expect and prefer a face to face service in the bank and I fear it will result in people travelling to other towns to use banks, which still provide over-the-counter coin services, which in turn will have a negative economic impact for the town of Dunmanway,” he said.
Bank of Ireland has said it wants to gear more of its 250 branches to an “advice and self-service” model, with a target of making 100 cash-free by the end of 2017.
Customers in the affected branches can withdraw and lodge cash via self-service machines. The bank says it is doing so because only 3% of transactions in branches are now done at the counter.
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