Permanent TSB has confirmed the bank's commitment to maintaining its 76 strong branch network around the country. 

Permanent TSB said it has invested about €20m in its branch network in the past two years including upgrading certain branches, increased customer training for branch staff and investments in new technology in branches.

Today it also announced a €5m investment programme for Permanent TSB branches in the coming year. 

The bank has introduced Quick Banking Machines into 44 branches which will automate cash transactions and free staff to support customers.

It said that with the exception of coins, these machines can handle all the cash transactions that one associates with a cash desk and the bank staff member can come out from behind the desk to work directly with customers. 

Patrick Farrell, the Director for Retail Banking at Permanent TSB, said the bank was committed to its branch network and had no plans to reduce the number of branches it operates.

"Our brand revolves around community and we see branches as a community asset - not just a bank asset - so there is a natural desire to maintain a strong, dynamic branch network," Mr Farrell said. 

"We kept all 76 branches open since the Covid lockdowns began a year ago and we are committed to maintaining a nationwide network into the future," he added.

Mr Farrell said that the key to safeguarding branches was to allow them to evolve.

"Branches will change but they don't have to disappear. We believe they are still a vital part of our business model and the key to safeguarding their future is to make them efficient and give customers valid reasons for using them," Mr Farrell said. 

"That's less about cash in this day and age and more about digital services and in-person support and that's what we are doing with these changes," he added.

Bank of Ireland recently announced plans to close 103 branches in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as the acceleration in digital banking has now reached a "tipping point".

Ulster Bank also announced a phased withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland over the coming years that will be managed in an "orderly and considered manner".  It has a total of 88 branches around the country.