I cover banking and money in my regular day job at the Washington Business Journal. That’s why these two bank-related stories in The Irish Times caught my eye.
An ATM machine at the Claremorris, County Mayo, branch of Ulster Bank began pushing out more than twice as much as what customers entered into the keyboard. “The result was that an unknown number of card holders walked off with funds for a Christmas shopping spree way in excess of what they had been planning,” the Times reported.
Naturally, the bank said it would trace the customers by their card and PIN identification, which is also input during the transaction. They’ll have to return the money.
In the other story, some 1,000 residents of Ferbane, County Offaly, marched to protest Ulster Bank’s decision to close the town’s last bank branch. The Times reported:
“…a coffin bearing the words “West Offaly Rip” was carried from a sports field outside town, by six pall bearers who placed it on the steps of the Ulster Bank in the town’s main street. The pall bearers were followed by a lone piper, children from local schools, traders, residents’ associations and members of local sporting groups and the IFA. Shops and businesses closed for the duration of the march and subsequent rally. …. One protester warned, “Ferbane will leave Ulster Bank, if Ulster Bank leaves Ferbane.”
“An Ulster Bank spokeswoman said banking had changed significantly over the last few years and “more of our customers are using digital technology to bank with us where and when it is convenient for them”.
It’s the same in the U.S., where big banks are pulling out of rural locations and focusing more on metropolitan areas.