February 23, 2013
March 4, 2013
The only remaining sign
I am more accepting of the proposal that as one gets older, memories of the past become fonder. I also recognise that progress and technology can be good. Reconciling these two opposing views can be difficult.
Twenty or thirty years ago, there were four banks within a very short distance of St Patrick Bridge – AIB at corner of Camden Place/Bridge St; and, Bank of Ireland by Roches Stores/Debenhams on Patrick St; the corner of Patrick’s Hill and Coburg St; and, on Bridge St.. The first three closed down at various stages leaving the Bank of Ireland at Bridge St. the only one remaining – as of last week.
That was when I spotted the sign that the Bank of Ireland branch was closing and transferring business elsewhere. Upon reading the sign, I had a number of immediate thoughts. Last Friday, within three hours of the doors closing, the ATM had been removed and blocked up. The removal of the signage and branding was nearly completed. This brought on further observations.
The thought sympathetic to Bank of Ireland was that all businesses need to reduce costs and that this was just a consequence - effecting savings in rates, insurances, etc.. There were a number of unsympathetic thoughts.
I have a definite sensation that in current economic conditions, some businesses believe that customers may accept a reduced level of service. The customer queues in the banks are definitely lengthening. Any decision to visit a bank to interact with a teller for any transaction now needs some serious consideration as to whether time is available.
I can understand that having company branding visible on a premises that is closed would be a negative image. It may cause customer to query if that is the way for all other branches. However, the speed at which evidence of the many years trading at the premises was removed was startling and discomforting.
It appears that internet banking and automated telephone answering options are the way of the future. That does not mean that everyone needs to like them or even welcome them. Together with the abuse of emails and text messages, society is heading towards elimination of the spoken word.
I cannot be the only person who has gone through many options in ‘Press 1’ for this or that – only to find that my query is not answered. Others must have responded to a text to find themselves in a series of subsequent messages to clarify. If one values one’s time and wishes to maintain a low level of stress, these forms of communication are possibly best avoided.
Talking predates writing, computers, internet and texting. I hope that it does not go the way of some bank branches.