AIB’S U-TURN on its plan to cease cash services in Tullow and 69 other branches throughout the country has been met with relief locally. AIB scrapped plans to close cash services such as lodgements and withdrawals days after they were first announced due to a national outcry.
The threat to the loss of services was keenly felt in Tullow, which has no other commercial banking facilities. AIB customers would have been forced to travel to Carlow town to lodge cheques or cash.
Thrive Café in Tullow is just one of AIB’s customers. Co-owner Helen Whelan said: “I am just relieved. I am glad people were standing for a thing like that and fighting for it. It should not have happened.” She added: “I have always been with AIB; AIB in Tullow is fantastic. But as a business, we would not be going to Carlow to do a lodgement. It would not be an option.”
Some of the most affected would have been the elderly. Helen said: “You have people all their lives using a banking service, and it’s very sad to see at that stage that they lost it.”
For a growing town like Tullow, and east Carlow in general, it was vital to retain the service. A petition set up last week by Carlow Weather’s Alan O’Reilly to voice local opposition attracted 1,500 signatures. There are also under-appreciated benefits, with generations learning the fundamentals of managing their money at the teller’s counter.
In its initial announcement to scrap cash services, the bank had claimed there was a declining demand for cash services. In reversing the decision, AIB cited “customer and public unease”.