ICMSA demands clearer guidelines for bank charges
The ICMSA has called for the Government to lay down unilateral ground rules for the banks in terms of the charges they can levy on small businesses and farms.
The call follows the decision by ACC Bank and Danske Bank to dramatically scale back their Irish operations.
This move has sparked fears of a significant increase in banking charges now that competition in the banking sector has been severely eroded.
Sources in the financial services industry warned that Ireland was returning to a banking environment much like the early 2000s when the traditional domestic operators dominated the lending scene.
"Banking charges have tumbled since the early 2000s when competition in the banking sector took off but they are now only likely to go one way and that is up," a senior official in the financial services industry said.
Owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and farms will be most exposed to a return to the old status quo and a possible surge in charges.
IFA President John Bryan said the decision by Danske Bank to end its operations here was another blow for competition in the banking sector.
Mr Bryan said the changes in the sector placed an onus on the Government to "keep the remaining banks honest".