Bank of Ireland has confirmed that it is to close 88 outlets in the Republic of Ireland and a further 15 in Northern Ireland this year.

The branches closing are predominately self-service locations which do not offer a counter service, the bank said in a statement.

The closures will begin in September, and will see Bank or Ireland locations in the Republic of Ireland reduce to 169 locations. In Northern Ireland, the branch network will reduce from 28 to 13 locations.

The bank has also announced a partnership with An Post that will offer banking services at the latter’s 900 or so locations across Ireland.

This will include over-the-counter cash and cheque lodgements and cash withdrawals, with longer weekday opening hours than traditional bank branches, as well as Saturday opening.

The Bank of Ireland branches that are due to close will be, on average, within 500m of an An Post outlet, the bank said.

Francesca McDonagh, group CEO of Bank of Ireland, commented: “Technology is evolving, and customers are using branches less, year-on-year. Covid-19 has accelerated this changing behaviour, and we’ve seen a seismic shift towards digital banking over the past 12 months.

We’ve now reached a tipping point between online and offline banking. Our mobile app is our most popular way to bank, with almost half-a-million customer logins every day and traffic up by a third in the past two years.

“Seven in 10 personal customer product applications are made digitally, and we expect this to grow to over eight in 10 by the end of this year.”

McDonagh added: “In contrast, the number of people visiting branches has sharply declined, and is now just over half of what it was in 2017. Footfall at the branches which are closing is down even more, by around 60% since 2017.”