Opening Bell: Bank of America's Dublin plans, AIB's massive fine, McDonald's zero-hour contracts

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AIB has been fined over €2.2 million for breaches of money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations.

The Central Bank imposed the fine for six breaches of the 2010 Criminal Justice Act over a three year period.

AIB admits that it failed to report over 200 suspicious transactions promptly to Gardaí and the Revenue Commissioners.

Sunday Times business columnist Nick Webb says the fine is bad news for the bank:

"This is a really big deal and it's a very, very public fine. It comes at a spectacularly bad time for AIB because as we know it's limbering [up] to float on the stock markets. The State is going to sell up to 25% of the company; remember we bailed out the bank so we own it."

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch is actively looking for more office space in Dublin to accommodate hundreds of additional staff.

According to The Irish Times, the Wall Street giant is among the most advanced global banks in terms of considering expansion in the capital as it braces itself for the impact of Brexit.

This newly-reported expansion would be in addition to plans, first reported by the newspaper in February, to increase its Irish workforce by 17% to over 700 people.

It is currently developing its global technology and operations hub in Leopardstown and also has offices on Hatch Street in the city centre.

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All McDonald's employees in are going to be offered the chance to move off zero-hour contracts.

The restaurant chain's 115,000 workers will be able to switch to a fixed position instead, guaranteeing four, eight, 16 or 20 hours every week.

McDonald’s Ireland, meanwhile, is not a zero-hours employer and does not operate an “on-call” practice with its staff here.

McDonald's UK chief executive, Paul Pomroy, told Sky News:

"We survey our people and one of the things they told me was that in the current climate getting things like mobile phone contracts, car loans and mortgages was getting tougher.

"Financial regulations have changed and people wanted the choice. I listened to that and yes, it was time that I moved forward. So we now offer people flexible contract where they can select different hours."

The company also revealed it's going to start trying out deliveries in the UK from June. it will be using an external delivery company to do so, with Uber Eats and Deliveroo touted as two companies who could potentially secure the contract.

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More than a third of people in Europe say they would go completely cashless if they could.

A survey of 15,000 people across 15 countries by finance firm ING International also found one in five now rarely carry notes and coins.

It was recently revealed that old punts worth €350 million are still floating around Ireland.