Irish banks are working together on a co-ordinated response to support individuals and businesses most affected by the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has said.
Chief executive Brian Hayes said financial institutions are collaborating to ensure the continuity of banking and payments services, as the crisis worsens.
“This work aims to mitigate possible disruption to payment services including electronic payments such as credit transfers and direct debits, cash, cheques and card payments. Significant progress has been made and a robust response plan has been put in place”, he said
“Banks have moved rapidly this week to ensure a wide range of credit, cash flow and supply chain supports are offered to businesses who are trying to manage the pressures arising from Covid-19, while a suite of measures and arrangements for personal customers facing financial challenges have also been made available”, Mr Hayes added.
He said anyone experiencing difficulties due to the impact of Covid-19 should contact their bank.
“The industry is here to help the entire country to get through this unprecedented situation, that’s why customer bank engagement is so crucial,” he said.
His comments come a day after Minister for Business Heather Humphreys welcomed assurances from pillar banks, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, that they would support businesses through the crisis.
“All three banks have assured me that they will support their business customers through this period. The impact of this crisis will be severe - but it will end - and Government and the banks will work together to do what is needed to support the cash needs of businesses as they work their way through it,” she said after meeting with top management at the leading Irish financial institutions.
Pillar banks have announced they will offer relief, including short payment holidays on mortgage payments for up to six months to customers that find themselves in financial distress as a result of the fast-spreading coronavirus. In addition, they have said said businesses will be able to avail of emergency working capital, payment flexibility on borrowings and trade finance for those sourcing products from new suppliers internationally as the virus plays havoc on supply chains.