Friday 27 April 2018

Bah humbug to BoI hikes

IT is unlikely the plight of hard-pressed customers took up too much time at the monthly meeting of the grandly titled 'Court' of the Bank of Ireland this week.

The court, or board, met on Monday with American billionaire investor Wilbur Ross who was in town for the gig.

And this week also Bank of Ireland turned the screw again on its customers with a hike in credit card rates.

Higher rates took effect from yesterday – one week from Christmas.

Coming on top of hikes in the variable rates for residential and buy-to-let mortgage holders at the bank and its subsidiary ICS, and changes to the fee structures for current accounts, it is proving to be a tough time for the around 1.2 million personal customers of the bank.

The same bank got €4.7bn from taxpayers to rescue it from ruin.

We don't know what went on at the court, but it is a fair bet that the big talking point was not the pressure on consumers but instead the bank's return to the bond markets earlier this month.

Bank of Ireland sold €200m of subordinated bonds in a surprise move which many analysts described as far more significant than other recent bond sales.

It was the first time any Irish bank has issued subordinated bonds since the crisis began in 2008.

That is well and good, but it is a pity that ordinary customers are not seeing the benefits of this positive development.

Irish Independent

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