Eight reasons why the banks hate us
Then AIB introduced charges which were harder to avoid. Then Bank of Ireland changed its rules and from the middle of November free banking will only be available to customers who leave €3,000 permanently in their current account. This money will not earn any interest.
5The banks have also been cutting services. As of yesterday Bank of Ireland will only process international payments valued at more than €3,000 at the counter. Credit card payments will no longer be accepted at the counter nor will payments into a non-Bank of Ireland account.
Bank of Ireland is also refusing to sell bank drafts at branch counters unless they are worth more than €500. In a piece of Orwellian bumf, Bank of Ireland claimed this reduction of services was actually good news.
“I’ve found ways that give me more time to do what I like to do. That’s the easy banking effect” was how the leaflet outlining the changes was presented.
6Irish banks are also moving people away from its frontline staff in a manner which might be considered unseemly. Stand in the queue for any teller with a cheque you would like cashed and you will be approached by a “customer service representative” who will strongly urge you to use an automated machine to cash your cheque.
7As many as 25 per cent of all bank branches will be shut in the months ahead as AIB, EBS, Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB roll out plans to close up to 200 branches between them within two years.
The move will see the services available to many Irish consumers – particularly those in small rural towns – dramatically scaled back.
AIB will shut around 70 branches across its 270-strong network. Around 40 of Ulster Bank’s 146 outlets will go. Permanent TSB will close around 25 branches of its 92 while NIB will close its branch network of 27 banks entirely. In August Bank of Ireland ruled out any bank closures.
8Despite the banks’ PR guff to the contrary, securing a loan of any kind is incredibly difficult these days.
A recent report from the Central Bank found that Irish banks are second only to those in Greece when it comes to refusing loans.
When it comes to personal loans, extracting money from them can be as difficult and they are increasingly using “soft underwriting” tactics to select only the most responsible of borrowers and will pore over your account with forensic zeal looking for reasons to say no.
They have also taken the power to approve loans from local branch managers so commonsense and personal relationships count for nothing. Although given that many of our problems were caused by bankers’ personal relationships with big developers, maybe that is not such a bad thing.