NI farmers ‘not impacted’ by Bank of Ireland closures

Bank of Ireland has confirmed that its services to the farming sector will not be impacted by the decision to close fifty per cent of its branches in Northern Ireland over the coming months.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 8:08 am

A spokesperson for the bank said: “Our agribusiness services will not be impacted by the branch closures. Bank of Ireland is one of the main lenders to the agri sector in Northern Ireland

“We have a range of products and services suited to our agri customer needs which we will continue to deliver without impact.”

The spokesperson continued:“We have a dedicated agri manager who with the support of highly skilled agri lenders carry out many farm visits every year and understand the needs of our farming customers.

“Overall the agriculture sector is a key one for Bank of Ireland, and that will remain the case.”

Bank of Ireland this week announced the outcome of a strategic review of its Northern Ireland business which has been underway since August 2020. This review underlines Bank of Ireland’s commitment to the provision of financial services in Northern Ireland, but will see a restructure of the business to respond to the significant and accelerating changes in how customers are banking today.

By the end of 2021, the number of Bank of Ireland branches in Northern Ireland will reduce by 15 to 13.

Alongside this change, a £7 million investment programme will be delivered to improve the revised branch network, invest in technology, and enhance customer service.

Bank of Ireland are also announcing that the Bank of Ireland UK headquarters will relocate from London to Belfast. In the Republic of Ireland the branch network will reduce by 88, from 257 to 169.

Personal and business customers will be able to use over 500 Post Office branches to make lodgements of cash and cheques, withdraw cash and make balance enquiries.

Bank of Ireland business customers will also be able to access enhanced services including cheque encashment, bulk cash lodgements and obtaining pre-ordered coin at nominated Post Office outlets.

Ian McLaughlin, Bank of Ireland UK CEO, commented: “Technology is evolving, and customers are using branches less. COVID-19 has accelerated this changing behaviour, and over the past 12 months we’ve seen a seismic shift towards digital banking.”

“Digital banking is growing fast, while branch footfall is dropping sharply. We’ve now reached a tipping point between online and offline banking, and that’s why we’ve announced changes to our branch network. However, our agreement with the Post Office means we continue to protect local access to physical banking for those who want it.

“We know news like this can cause concern for some customers. We’re not making these changes immediately, giving us time to communicate fully with all our customers about every option available to them – online, in an alternative Bank of Ireland branch, or at a local post office.”

He concluded: “Bank of Ireland has been serving the community since 1825 and these changes mean we can continue to play a strong role in Northern Ireland for the years to come.”