Bank of Ireland branches to close next month

Within a month, the presence of yet another high-street banking brand will disappear from three towns across County Cavan.

Bank of Ireland will close its branches in Arva, Cootehill and Kingscourt from October 8. The bank has written to customers to inform them of the closure date, as well advise them of banking services available after this date including at An Post locations, digital and phone services, and other remaining branches in the county.

The bank confirmed last March it was shutting 88 branches in the Republic, largely covering locations closed temporarily in Spring 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

For Cootehill, in banking terms, just 10 years ago the town boasted three fully operating branches - BOI, AIB, and Ulster Bank - the latter two closing in 2012 and 2017 respectively.

With Kingscourt also on the chopping block, it leaves the nearest BOI branch to Cootehill 16 kilometres away in Co Monaghan. For Kingscourt customers, the nearest will be Carrickmacross.

In Monaghan, branches in Castleblayney and Clones are also set to close and, elsewhere in the region, branches in Granard (Longford), Castlepollard (Westmeath), Manorhamilton (Leitrim), and Athboy (Meath) will serve their last day on October 8.

In Northern Ireland, Bank of Ireland will shut its branch in Lisnaskea.

Like Ulster Bank four years ago, the move to close branches is part of a restructuring programme.

As a result of the closures, the Bank of Ireland branch network in the Republic of Ireland will be reduced by 88 to 169.

In Northern Ireland 15 branches will close, leaving 13 open.

"Like many other companies with a large number of retail locations, and like banks across the globe, we had to change our branch services to better reflect how people are banking today. For a long time we kept our branches open when the general trend was to close them but, over the last decade, customers have been moving to digital banking and that has rapidly accelerated in recent years," said a spokesperson in a statement to The Anglo-Celt this week.

"We will continue to operate an extensive branch network with a strong nationwide presence of 169 locations. This will be complemented by a new partnership with An Post, which will offer Bank of Ireland customers banking services at more than 900 locations across Ireland. This will include over the counter cash and cheque lodgements and cash withdrawals, with longer weekday opening hours than traditional bank branches, as well as Saturday opening. The closing Bank of Ireland branches have a post office within, on average, less than 500 metres," they added.

It is the second major blow to the local banking retail landscape in as many weeks after Ulster Bank signalled it is to exit the Republic of Ireland market.

Ulster Bank will eventually close its remaining three branches in Co Cavan, as well as others in Monaghan Town, Longford, Mullingar and Navan.

However, bank branches in Ballyconnell and Ballyjamesduff are among 25 Ulster Bank branches set to be traded to Permanent TSB.

A spokesperson for Ulster Bank stressed that the financial provider will "not close" any branches in 2021, and "do not" anticipate closing any branches in the first half of 2022.