Wednesday 16 April 2014

Increased bank charges expected as Ulster Bank declares fees 'too low'

Ulster Bank chief executive Jim Brown

Bank customers may be subject to another increase in fees as Ulster Bank has declared that service charges in Ireland are too low.

Chief executive Jim Brown made the comments as he predicted that customer accounts' charges would see an “upward movement.”

Mr Brown said that he expected Ulster Bank to achieve an income of 33pc from these service fees, a rise from a current return of 25pc.

If Ulster Bank decide to increase their charges for customers, the few large banks left in the Irish banking market are likely to follow suit.

Account holders are already coping with a series of charges from each of the country’s banks.

AIB offers an exemption from fees if €2,500 is kept in the account at all times, but otherwise charges €4 every three months in addition to a service fee of 39c per transaction.

Bank of Ireland, meanwhile, expects their customers to maintain a higher balance of €3,000 in order to avoid transaction services – which are charged at 40c each.

However, fee-free banking is on offer at Permanent TSB if a customer lodges €1,500 to their current account every month.

Yesterday, Ulster’s parent bank RBS reaffirmed its commitment to Ireland, but Ulster’s presence is set to be significantly reduced with a detailed job cut strategy yet to be announced.

The IBOA has welcomed the announcement but expressed fears for bank staff as a result of potential branch closures.

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