The impending closure of AIB and Permanent tsb branches in Tipperary is hugely disappointing for the towns and communities involved and a major loss of service for users. AIB are due to close 67 branches nationwide with 5 of these branches located in Tipperary whilst Permanent tsb are due to close 3 of their Tipperary centres. The loss of these 8 branches in the Tipperary area as hugely regrettable and very frustrating for customers of the banks, the public generally and ultimately a very sad day for rural Ireland.
Tipperary branches are particularly badly affected by these closures with 5 branches set to close between this year and next year in AIB and three Permanent tsb branches to be lost. With regards to AIB the branches of Newport, Borrisokane, Clogheen and Killenaule will close in October next while the Templemore branch will close its doors in early 2013. Permanent tsb have also announced that Thurles, Roscrea and Tipperary Town will also lose their local branch office.
My primary concern is for the many local, loyal customers of the bank and for the staff working in these local branches. AIB and Permanent tsb customers in these areas will face a major disruption and will now be forced to travel to neighbouring towns should they wish to visit a branch. AIB have stated that they will now have a mobile facility visiting the towns affected but this is of little consolation. I have spoken to many residents in the areas affected and they feel particularly aggrieved by the decision to close these smaller branches. Rural dwellers now feel that they are being abandoned by the bank and that their local branches are being scapegoated in an effort to save some money.
Worryingly the closure of these branches marks the loss of yet another vital service from our rural towns and villages. The value of the services provided by these local banks cannot be underestimated. They are of the utmost importance for business and individuals in the town and are particularly useful for those who do not have the facilities to travel to larger towns. They are a focal point in our communities and a pivotal part of rural life. Branch banking still serves a role in rural towns and should not be dispensed of completely. Despite the increased use of internet banking customers still like and feel reassured by the physical presence of a branch in their area and feel reassured that they can go to their local town and speak to someone should something go wrong. Indeed many people do not use internet banking and rely on this local service.
I believe that it is essential that the employees in the affected branches receive every support and assistance in facilitating their move to other branches. This move will cause significant disruption to these individuals and their families and the banks involved must take active steps to ensure that this transfer is as smooth as possible and must try to minimise the disruption to the best of their ability.