Bank of Ireland plans to improve its branch network

More ATMs and innovative business offerings announced...

Bank of Ireland plans to improve its branch network

The Bank of Ireland flag at the branch on College Green, Dublin | Image: Julien Behal / PA Archive/PA Images

Bank of Ireland is planning a €10 million upgrade of its branches this year.

According to The Irish Times, this includes the installation of 90 new external lodgement and ATMs around the country, meaning that 80% of its branches will offer 24-hour lodgement and withdrawal capabilities.

The bank is also adding a third-party lodgement option to its eLATMs, allowing customers to lodge money into other people's accounts on the street. It's an option currently only offered on internal machines.

A new branch in the developing Cherrywood area in south Dublin is also included in the plans – with approval granted by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, it is set to open in September.

It will take care of the banking needs of potentially 30,000 people. Work on the new €2 billion urban centre began in February, with 8,000 homes set to be built.

The Cherrywood development (plans pictured below) will boast a fully-pedestrianised town centre and include shops, offices, a cinema and 1,300 apartments.

Nationwide plans

Elsewhere around the country, Bank of Ireland's University College Cork branch will be completely remodelled and branches in Blanchardstown, Castlebar, Cobh, Kilkenny and Terenure are all gaining enhanced internet facilities.

Cork and Limerick branches will now offer workbenches which can be used, for free, by startups.

Staying on that altruistic track, the bank is also planning to open a Startlab incubator space for new businesses on Camden Street and a community event space in upper Baggot Street.

Bank of Ireland's director of distribution channels, Gavin Kelly, told The Irish Times:

"When transaction levels in a branch drop below a certain level the easiest decision is to close it.

"Sometimes that means moving staff onto the floor instead of behind a counter, providing support with devices and advice on mortgages, investments, and insurance.

"This has already worked successfully for us in many of our branches, where we have actually seen an increase in transactions following the changes."

The changing landscape for physical banking services saw Ulster Bank announce its intentions in March to close 22 Irish branches.

The bank is hoping that as many of these redundancies as possible will be voluntary. Previous Ulster Bank downsizing has seen redundancy schemes oversubscribed.

The closures are set to take place in June and September, leaving it with 88 branches in the Republic. 

Ulster Bank has said the closures come as it moves to digital banking. Last year, 62% of its customer interactions were digital, compared to 10% in branches.