AIB is to close a significant number of its bank branches across the North-West.
The bank has announced that eight branches are to close in Co. Donegal, while one is to close in Co. Sligo.
The Donegal branches facing closure in the first half of 2013 are Bundoran, Falcarragh, Raphoe, Gweedore, Moville, Lifford and Dunfanaghy while Milford will close in October of this year.
In Co. Sligo, the Collooney branch will close before the end of 2012.
Other branches to close are Charlestown in Co. Mayo which will be relocated to Swinford and Boyle, Co. Roscommon which will be relocated to Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
AIB services will now be offered through the An Post Network, while there will also be a mobile banking service in Co. Donegal.
AIB says its decision to hike its variable rate mortgages is regrettable and a difficult one to make.
However CEO David Duffy says the bank had no choice if its be a viable entity.
The surprise raise to 3.5 per cent was announced as AIB released its half yearly results this morning.
The bank has also announced the closure of 45 sub offices and the amalgamation of 6 branches by October, while a further 16 full branches will be closed next year.
However the mortgage rate hike comes at a time when other banks are reducing theirs.
But CEO David Duffy insists AIB is effectively loosing money on mortgages and its a necessary evil.
Sinn Fein Deputy Pearse Doherty says AIB have abandoned the people of rural Ireland.