AIB ‘got it wrong’ when it announced plans to go cashless in nearly 40% of its branches, the bank’s CEO has admitted.
The bank last week announced plans to go cashless in 70 of its 170 branches – but then performed a swift U-turn amid fury from its customers.
It has since insisted that the plan is now dead in the water, with all existing branches set to remain as they are.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, AIB chief Colin Hunt said he “deeply regrets the alarm and concern” the plan caused customers.
“I think the lesson learned this week is that a large number of our customers continue to want to have ready, immediate and 24-hour access to cash,” he said.
“It is inevitable that banking services will be delivered in a very fundamentally different way in 2030 but the lesson for me is we moved way to far, way too fast in this instance.
“We recognised that, we reversed course. We heard the voice of the consumer; we heard the voice of our customers - it was clear as a bell - and we acted quickly, and we fully reversed it.
“But I’m very regretful that we caused alarm and concern to our customers.”
'Very, very negative fedback'
He said the bank received “very, very negative feedback” from customers up and down the country through emails, letters and visits to branches.
“I deeply regret the alarm and concern that that proposal caused to our customers and I want to reassure our customers and your listeners this morning, that proposal is now off the agenda,” he said.
“We’re not proceeding with it and services will remain as existing across our network.”
Mr Hunt was speaking as the bank announced after tax profits of €477m for the first half of the year – with Revenue up 8% and new lending up 20%.
The bank last week said it would absorb the new European interest rate hikes on its variable rate mortgages.
Mr Hunt said it is too early to say whether it will do the same with any future rises noting that the world is facing a “very uncertain environment”.
New figures from Eurostat show prices in Ireland have increased 9.6% so far this year – more than the Eurozone average which is at a record 8.9%.