Under rules announced by the bank yesterday the withdrawal of cash up to €700 will take place via ATM only and the lodgements of up to €3,000 cash and 15 cheques will take place via the Lodgement ATM. The amount a customer may withdraw on their card is being increased to €1,300.
From mid-November Bank of Ireland customers will have to use ATMs or mobile devices for small and modest-sized transactions.
Customers with payments, lodgements and withdrawals in excess of these amounts will be facilitated over the counter and business customers can use priority-drop facilities.
“Bank of Ireland understands these changes may be a new way of banking for some of our customers and the branch teams will be available to help and guide them through this change,” a statement read.
The bank said customers are increasingly choosing to use in-branch devices or bank 24/7 using digital channels and last year over the counter business and personal transactions made up only 4% of total transactions.
AIB and Ulster Bank said they do not have a minimum set amount that a person can lodge or withdraw at the branch and there are no plans to change this. Permanent TSB also confirmed it has no plans to follow Bank of Ireland’s new policy.
Concerns over the move have been raised by both Age Action Ireland and ALONE who fear the new changes will impact heavily on older people who rely on tellers at financial institutions to carry out their day-to-day banking needs.
“Many of our members are already frustrated with how difficult some banks make it to engage face-to-face,” Justin Moran, head of advocacy and communications at Age Action, said. “The changes proposed by Bank of Ireland trying to force people to carry out their business online are only going to make that worse and it’s clear older people were completely ignored in making this decision,” he added.
CEO of ALONE Sean Moynihan said the change will cause huge problems for older people unfamiliar with technology and the internet and may leave them more isolated than ever before.
“The interactions they have with staff at their local branch are a valued part of their routine so we would implore Bank of Ireland to reconsider this decision.”
Finance minister Michael Noonan described the changes as “surprising and unnecessary”.
@DeputyMcGrathTD My 80 year old Mum said today "I'm closing my account and finding a friendly bank" kind of sums it up #BankofIreland— Declanhamill (@dechamcork) November 4, 2015
“I note the bank have given a commitment to assist more vulnerable customers in their branches. I expect the bank to fully honour this commitment and ensure that customers will be facilitated through the existing arrangements where required. I would welcome a clarification from Bank of Ireland on the issue.”
Fianna Fáil Finance spokesman Michael McGrath urged the bank to re-examine its decision. “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,” he said.