Farmers prefer to bank online – BOI Boss


Farmers prefer to do their banking online or over the phone so they can spend their day running their farm, said Bank of Ireland chief executive Francesca McDonagh.

Culminating in an Oireachtas finance committee hearing, she defended the bank’s recent decision to reduce the number of physical branches from 88 from 257 to 169 from September.

She said the bank was responding to a change in consumer behavior and similar changes were happening in other sectors.

Not everyone necessarily likes walking into a branch. If customers can find a more convenient instant way, like applying for a loan, for example, they will, ”she said.

According to Ms McDonagh, around 80% of Bank of Ireland loans in the agricultural sector are made outside branches.

“We bank 40,000 farmers. When we talk to farmers we hear that they would rather have one of our mobile advisors visit them… And that would have been pre-Covid, ”she says.

“They prefer to do their business online or by phone so they can spend their day running their farm. It’s about customer behavior. “

ICMSA President Pat McCormack

said it was not clear whether the massive bank branch closures reflected changes in customer behavior or actually caused them.

It was not enough, he said, that essential services such as banking services or access to state agencies and departments were reserved exclusively for those who feel comfortable online or have it. the possibility.

“Of course, we recognize the migration to e-commerce,” he said. “But we don’t accept that just pointing out this can be the end of any debate.

“And these old people often decades-old clients of Ms. McDonagh’s bank who do not have the skills to access online or even the necessary infrastructure or coverage? What is happening to them?

“There’s a certain degree of ‘chicken and egg’ logic deployed here, where we see commercial and public companies shutting down physical sites and pointing fingers at the resulting replacement digital business to justify the shutdowns in the first place..

“But of course people had to log in because that was the only way to access services after their physical disappearance.

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