Belfast Telegraph

AIB memo reveals branches to close

Staff at bailed-out Allied Irish Banks (AIB) have been told a number of branches across the country are to close.

Bosses sent an internal memo to workers on Friday confirming speculation back in March that some "unviable" outlets would be shut down as part of cost-cutting plans.

A source at the bank said while no decision has yet been taken as to how many branches will shut up shop, the closures are likely to take effect this year.

"There are no specifics yet - no timescale and no figures as to how many branches will be affected - as the bank is still engaged in discussions," said the insider.

Finance union IBOA called on AIB to clarify its plans as soon as possible and give details. General secretary Larry Broderick said news of the branch closures was concerning for the union.

"The bottom line is the bank needs to clarify for customers and staff where these branch closures will be, what impact they will have and when the closures will take place," he said.

It is understood AIB has struck a deal with An Post to extend banking facilities throughout the country's post offices, which will see customers being able to lodge cheques and deposits. Bosses told workers in a 24-page strategy document that the An Post initiative will help with the bank's restructuring plans.

"Regrettably, this means that the number of branches will reduce as part of the move to lower costs," it stated. "But, through the use of mobile banks and new branch openings in selected areas, AIB will bring banking services to new locations."

The bank announced plans in March to lay off 2,500 workers by the end of 2013 in a bid to save 170 million euro in a year. Half the redundancies will be made this year and the other half next.

But the AIB source claimed that no additional staff will be made redundant as a result of the closures confirmed on Friday.

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