Call to expand post office banking
Postmasters have called on the Government to give them a major role in a reformed banking sector.
The Irish Postmasters' Union (IPU) said its network of 1,100 offices should be opened up for bank customers as finance houses are expected to cut back on the number of branches.
Brian McGann, IPU general secretary, said allowing the post office to add new business would be a perfect example of government showing joined-up thinking.
"There is no reason why local post offices can't provide a whole variety of service," he said.
"With most of the banking sector in crisis and under majority public ownership it makes sense to use the Post Office Retail Network to help the Irish banking sector restructure while also ensuring that all Irish customers have access to a high level of services.
"We are open for business and that means serving customers five and a half days each week. People know and trust us and we will be there for our customers when they need us."
Post offices already invite customers of Allied Irish Banks and National Irish Bank to carry out transactions in areas where their banks have no presence.
Mr McGann said the network is larger than the 900 branches held by AIB, Bank of Ireland, NIB, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank combined.
"Utilising the extensive physical retail network that An Post offers will ensure banks and financial institutions can continue to provide extensive services to Irish consumers while recognising the financial constraints within which many of those other service providers are currently operating," he added.