Donegal hit hardest by AIB closures

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Donegal North East TD Charlie McConalogue has expressed his disappointment at AIB’s decision to shut down 8 bank branches in Co Donegal by the end of next year. The Fianna Fáil TD has also slammed the bank’s decision to hike mortgage rates by 0.5%.

The bank confirmed plans to close 67 branches nationwide including those in Lifford, Dunfanaghy, Milford, Falcarragh, Gweedore, Raphoe, Moville and Bundoran.

It also announced an increase in its variable interest rates by 0.5% to 3.5%.

Speaking on Friday Deputy McConalogue said: “This will come as a great shock not just to the staff affected but also to AIB customers across Co Donegal, particularly mortgage holders who are facing a considerable hike in monthly repayments as a result of today’s decision,” said Deputy McConalogue.

“AIB’s decision to hike mortgage interest rates is completely unacceptable given that the ECB rate is at its lowest level ever. It will put even more pressure on AIB mortgage holders in Donegal and across the country, many of whom are already in serious difficulty with their mortgages. Homeowners with an average sized mortgage will now see their annual payments increase by over €1,000.”

Deputy McConalogue has also expressed concern at the concentration of AIB bank closures in Co Donegal.

“With 8 branches due to close in Donegal, this county will be hit with the largest number of branch closures in the country. Local bank branches are a pivotal part of so many communities here in Donegal. While I recognise that there is a growing trend of online banking, customer service must remain a top priority for banks. Many of AIB’s customers here are simply not in a position to use internet banking or to travel to branches elsewhere.

“The branch closures are part of an ‘aggressive’ cost cutting plan by AIB. While there are no immediate job losses as a result of today’s announcement, AIB is committed to at least 2,500 redundancies by 2014. The Government must play a strong role in guaranteeing that those who lose their jobs at the State-owned bank are offered every support to allow them remain in the workplace.”