Postbank, a community banking service set up by Dutch-Belgian banking group Fortis and the Irish Post Office, has been introduced at 250 post offices and will be extended to 1000 locations across Ireland by the end of the year.
In a statement Fortis says the 50:50 Postbank venture will have "the largest retail banking network in Ireland by the end of next year".
Several hundred post office staff have already been trained by Postbank. Besides working with existing post office staff, the company expects to have a workforce of 500 staff within three years.
Postbank's initial services are based on two financial products - a demand deposit account and a guaranteed investment product. Services will be extended to include current accounts, credit cards and ATM facilities over the course of the next year. Postbank has also taken over An Post's insurance arm One Direct and bill payment service PostPoint and will continue to offer these services.
The company says its financial products and services will be simple, transparent, easily understandable and accessible to local communities.
As well as providing retail banking services via post offices, customers can apply and manage product via telephone banking. Postbank says it will additionally launch a Web banking service later this year following the installation of its new technology platform.