Time for Central Bank to intervene for banking customers

Dublin Senator and Fine Gael candidate for Dublin West, Catherine Noone, has today (Thursday) called on the Central Bank to publish a new document outlining the minimum service standards for customers that must be met by bank at their branches. This follows the recent withdrawal by Bank of Ireland of the ability to lodge and withdraw sums over the counter below a value of €700.

“Frankly, I think it’s a disgrace. Many people are very upset over this move and I can see why. I have been contacted by many constituents who’re now very worried about how they are going to do their daily banking, particularly elderly bank customers. As a result my office has been in contact with Bank of Ireland over this issue and quite honestly I do not feel reassured from their response.

“The bank claims that vulnerable customers, together with those elderly customers who are not comfortable using self-service channels or other technology solutions, will be assisted by branch staff to use the available in-branch services. But this is not good enough. People want and expect their banks to provide them with a service. They want and need the ability to lodge cash in person, whatever the amount.

“From the communications between my office and Bank of Ireland, it’s clear that branches which up until last month had over the counter service are not guaranteed to have it into the future.

“It’s quite clear that banks are trying to drive down their cost base, but they’re doing so at the expense of those in society who are unable to use these machines, or simply don’t feel safe doing so.

“The Irish people helped the banks when they needed it most yet the banks now seem hell-bent on working towards providing the most minimal level of service possible.

“I believe the Central Bank needs to intervene here and set out a minimum level of service which bank customers can expect in their branches. I believe this should include the ability to withdraw or deposit whatever amount of cash a person likes.

“It is my view that the Central Bank should draft this Customer Charter before the end of 2015 and work to have it implemented as soon as possible”.

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