Bank of Ireland is pumping EUR10 million into branch development, vowing to reinvent, rather than simply close, sites that see declining customer numbers.
As the migration to digital channels picks up pace, banks around the world are busy slashing the size of their branch networks and retooling the sites that they keep.
With the largest branch network in the country, Bank of Ireland is tackling falling transaction levels by refurbishing offices, adding 90 new ATMs with lodge and withdrawal capabilities this year.
The bank is also setting up a ‘Startlab’ incubator facility for startup businesses above its Camden Street, Dublin branch.
Gavin Kelly, director, distribution channels, Bank of Ireland, says: "When transaction levels in a branch drop below a certain level the easiest decision is to close it. However we don’t believe that is the correct strategy.
"When we look at trends within an area and find a drop in counter activity, we reinvent the space within the branch. Sometimes that means moving staff onto the floor instead of behind a counter, providing support with devices and advice on mortgages, investments, and insurance.
"This has already worked successfully for us in many of our branches, where we have actually seen an increase in transactions following the changes. With only 3% of our customers’ total transactions conducted over the counter, this reinvention of the branch space will continue."