Bank of Ireland rule changes a double blow for clients
Published 16/02/2011 | 05:00
BANK of Ireland has threatened to close the bank accounts of customers who breach its rules and conditions.
The bank warned customers that they will have online banking facilities withdrawn if they stop using the account or build up bad debts that the bank can't recover.
The bank has notified customers that the new rules will be applied from April 16.
The move is a second blow to Bank of Ireland customers, coming just days before the bank starts charging current account customers if they do not meet tough new conditions.
The changes are likely to mean thousands of current account customers will have to pay fees for the first time.
From Monday, customers must have at least €3,000 going into their account each quarter and make nine payments or more each quarter. Direct debits and standing orders are not counted as payments.
Customers who do not meet these targets will be hit with charges and fees for using their bank accounts, in what is seen as a row-back from offering fee-free banking.
The charges will not be imposed on students or pensioners.
A spokeswoman for the bank insisted yesterday that the bank has always had the power to close the accounts of customers who breach its terms and conditions, but new requirements under an EU directive meant it had to point this out to customers.
"This does not reflect any change. We can always do this but rarely do. It is only in exceptional cases when a customer has, for example, an unrecoverable bad debt and no longer has functioning accounts. It is just that this was not specifically detailed in existing terms and conditions."
The bank has also changed the terms and conditions for current accounts, pointing out that it may introduce new fees and change charges.
It also said it may remove or change a service at any time.
But the spokeswoman insisted the bank would always notify its customers before it increased any fees.