Bank of Ireland targets ‘accidental savers’ with investment focus

Household savings grew by up to €16bn in last 12 months as Covid-19 curbed spending

Bank of Ireland is looking to add focus to its investment offering as it targets "accidental savers" who may be looking for a more lucrative alternative to low-paying deposits.

Research from the bank found that many people became “accidental savers” during the pandemic, saving an average amount of €5,600.

Out of the more than 1,000 respondents, some 44 per cent managed to save more in the past year than prior to the pandemic, while almost three-quarters (71 per cent), said they would continue to save once the pandemic ends or even subsides. The survey found that the vast majority of people are planning for the future, with short-term spending aims including home renovations (57 per cent of respondents), as homes have doubled as offices for a huge amount of the population since March 2020. Some 48 per cent of those surveyed are still keen on travelling once the restrictions ease, looking to go on holiday once it is safe to do so.

Hospitality and retail

Figures from the Central Bank show that household savings grew by as much as €16 billion over the past year, as Covid-19 restrictions cut opportunities to spend money on services such as hospitality, holidays, non-essential retail and beauty treatments. However, the return earned on such accounts continues to fall. Latest figures from the regulator for February show that the average interest rate on household deposits stood at just 0.10 per cent, below the euro area average of 0.28 per cent.


Investment sales

Now Bank of Ireland, which is a tied agent of New Ireland, which means that the “vast majority” of its investment, pension and protection products come from this provider, is hoping to boost investment sales with a renewed focus.

"While the pandemic has cut people's spending opportunities, it has opened up investment possibilities," said Bernard Walsh, head of investments and pensions at Bank of Ireland, adding that "good savings habits have been established during the lockdown periods, and it's important that people don't overlook the role that investing can play in making their money work for them".

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times