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Opinion: BOI branch closures a sad day, but Credit Unions need to stand up

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice shares his views on the closure of 88 Bank of Ireland (BOI) branch closures.

The closure of 88 Bank of Ireland branches around the country represents a sad day.

However, it gives Credit Unions the opportunity to fill the void left behind.

Over a third of Bank of Ireland’s branches closed their doors for the last time on Friday evening (October 8th).

Many towns and rural villages will be left extremely disappointed as these banks close.

BOI closures

While efforts are being made to liaise with An Post to facilitate lodgements and withdrawals, it is unclear yet whether this will work.

It is worth the CEO of Bank of Ireland, Francesca McDonagh, remembering that when the bank was on its knees, it was the Irish people who bailed them out.

Both her and the institution itself would do well to remember that moving forward.

It has been well documented in the media that arrangements with An Post may not suit everyone. People from certain areas being forced to travel in excess of 20km or more to access services.

In a time when we are supposedly encouraging people to shop local and support businesses in towns and villages in rural Ireland, it seems as if there is an agenda to push more and more critical services into the larger urban areas.

But with Bank of Ireland turning its back on so many communities this week, it is time for the likes of Credit Unions to stand up to the plate and work with local people and business owners to offer the services they require.

I am aware that Credit Unions in some areas have been introducing upper limits to what each customer can hold with them. This will need to be addressed if it prevents people from effectively utilising their services.

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