A Waterford economist says the state has a responsibility to ensure everyone has access to banking.
It comes after Bank of Ireland’s recent decision to close a third of its branches in Ireland, citing the trend towards online banking as one of the main reasons.
However, Jim Power says the move excludes a huge amount of older people and those living in the country where access to the internet isn’t guaranteed.
"I do not believe this is a positive thing," said Power, speaking to Beat News. "As a matter of fact I think it's very negative, it's very negative for older people, it's very negative for the vibrancy for our towns and villages across the country.
"Back in the old days, we had a bank called ACC (Agricultural Credit Corporation) which was set up by the state to service agricultural lending, as well as the ICC (Industrial Credit Corporation) which particularly served small businesses.
"I think it's now time to revisit that proposition, I think it's time to look at setting up a community bank that will service particularly those individuals who will be excluded from our current banking system.
"It (the Government) needs to step in and look at creating an alternative bank to provide banking services to people for whom the existing banks have very little interest in looking after."
You can hear the full conversation below, including why Power thinks the recent AIB purchase of Goodbody stockbrokers is also a bad move for Irish consumers.