An independent TD has welcomed confirmation that AIB is to reverse its plans to make 70 branches “cashless” but said that reputational damage has been done to the bank.

AIB explained that it would not be proceeding with proposed changes to its bank services due to the “customer and public unease” caused by its initial decision.

Due to a dramatic increase in the use of digital banking services and a decline in branch visits and cash usage, AIB had planned to remove cash and cheque services from 70 of its 170 branches around the country.

Deputy Carol Nolan said that the U-turn was in direct response to a massive groundswell of public anger in rural Ireland:

“The decision by AIB is of course very welcome, and it will certainly relieve a great deal of stress and pressure from rural businesses and rural customers in particular.

“But the fact remains that AIB has inflicted massive reputational damage on itself ,” the Laois Offaly TD said.

“People were of the view that AIB treated the public revenues as its own personal ATM during the crash.

“Yet, ironically, when the same people who kept the bank afloat needed ATM’s, AIB effectively gave them the two-fingers. People will not forget that,” she continued.

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Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan

“The banking sector in this state, particularly those who are being carried by large state investments, has to wake up to the fact that it has a public service obligation to provide basic services to communities who rely entirely on them,” Nolan concluded.

The AIB U-turn was also welcomed by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, who said:

“I note the significant public reaction to AIB’s announcement earlier this week and I welcome the bank’s decision not to proceed with the proposed changes to customer services in certain branches.

“Banks have a key role in maintaining the flow of cash through the economy and ensuring appropriate access to retail banking services for all in society, including the vulnerable,” he added.