Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has urged Ulster Bank to reconsider its decision to introduce flat fees for its customers, describing the charges as unfair and regressive. Senator Noone’s comments follow the announcement that Ulster Bank plans to charge customers €4 a month to use a current account.
“This charge is not just disappointing, it’s unfair and regressive. And it is yet further confirmation that it is no longer possible for Irish people to hold affordable bank accounts without meeting the lofty requirements set by the banks.
“The fact that Ulster Bank account holders can only avoid these fees by making monthly lodgements of €3,000, or by always having €3,000 in their account, means that many ordinary people will be unable to avoid these fees. Essentially, it means that those who least can afford it will be penalised the most.
“You would be forgiven for thinking that Ulster Bank would actually be trying to keep their customers on side, rather than punish them, given the poor standard of service they have had to endure over the last 12 months. It is not yet a year since the collapse of Ulster Bank’s IT service created severe difficulties for customers for weeks on end. Despite this, Ulster Bank deems it entirely appropriate to demand more fees from their current account holders.
“Banking customers are faced with very few options due to the approach being taken by the industry. The new Ulster Bank fees mirror the unfair charges imposed by AIB and Bank of Ireland. I would urge Ulster Bank to reconsider these fees. While I accept that banks have to make ends meet, charging smaller customers a flat fee is regressive and unfair.”