Central Bank statistics show timelines set for the exit of Ulster Bank and KBC are not realistic and need to be extended.

09 September 2022

Data shows 76% of UB and KBC customers have yet to close their account with exiting banks.

John O’Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union (FSU) has called on the Central Bank to urgently intervene and based on the data published today,  inform Ulster Bank and KBC that they need to extend their timelines for exiting the Irish retail banking market.

Reacting to the publication today by the Central Bank of data on account opening and closing Mr O Connell said:

“The publication today by the Central Bank of data collated from all the main retail banks showing the account opening and closing statistics up to the end of August is a welcome development and something that the FSU has called for over the last number of months.

We now have a reliable set of data that the sector can reference and work off.

There is a considerable amount of data to analyse but some things are immediately clear.

The timelines set by UB and KBC for exiting the market are not realistic and need to be extended. There should be no cliff edge for customers. The Central Bank should inform KBC and Ulster Bank to extend their departure as the system is struggling under the strain of the additional workload, and consumers are struggling to get the support they require.

The FSU have made the point for months that all receiving banks are understaffed and ill prepared for the exits and needed to resource up and hire additional staff. The Central Bank have now clearly stated that the Banks are still understaffed and worryingly not providing adequate training for new employees. The FSU have asked the Central Bank to track and publish data from each of the Banks on the additional resources they have claimed to be providing to deal with the additional work. It is disappointing that these statistics were not published today, and the FSU will be asking the Central Bank to collate this data and publish at the earliest possible opportunity.

It is obvious that the banks remain understaffed and under resourced. This is causing huge stress for staff and enormous problems for customers. As pressure mounts on the system over the next few months it is not good enough that the proper resources have not yet been provided by the banks.

The clear message the data tells us is that the exit timelines need to be extended, and the banks need to staff up and provide additional resources and training to ensure an orderly exit of Ulster Bank & KBC “