Bank of Ireland is going ahead with what it calls an ‘advice and self-service model’ in its branch in Ballymote in County Sligo.
Responding to a query from Ocean FM News, it says staff will move from behind the counter onto the floor to provide ‘personalised financial and banking advice.’
It all means that for the first time in generations, banking services will not be provided in the traditional over-the-counter way in the South Sligo town.
Ballymote once had three banks.
Several years ago, Allied Irish Bank closed its doors.
Earlier this year, Ulster Bank announced it was closing its branch in the town.
That left only Bank of Ireland.
Now, that bank is to end its traditional counter services.
It’s a move many local people see as the replacement by machines of bank staff who provide one-to-one personal services.
But in a statement to Ocean FM News, Bank of Ireland says staff will be available to give advice.
And it insists customers will continue to be provided with a range of products and services.
This includes lodging and withdrawing cash from, what the banks says, are easy-to-use self-service devices, as well as having access to online and other services.
However, foreign currency exchange and coin transaction services will no longer be available at the branch.
And if customers require counter service, they will be introduced to a nearby branch of their choice.
All local politicians have raised concerns about what’s been happening with bank services in Ballymote, with Sinn Fein now planning a protest outside the Bank of Ireland branch at lunchtime next Friday.
But Bank of Ireland says that today, only 3% of its customers’ total transactions are over the counter.
And it adds that when it looks at the trends in a branch’s catchment area and sees a constant fall in counter activity, it makes changes to support how customers are actually using that branch.