AIB puts focus on customers 'for survival'
AIB's head of business banking, John Webb, yesterday admitted that the "very essence of the bank's survival" depends on "reconnecting" with customers who it has let down.
Mr Webb made the comments at a conference, four months after AIB's director of personal and business banking, Bernard Byrne, stunned an October conference by revealing starkly negative comments from a customer survey.
Yesterday, Mr Webb admitted that engagement with customers was "still not where it should be" and said there was "more to do" to make it easier for businesses to access credit and advice.
Mr Webb also acknowledged that AIB would need "more information to evaluate" loan applications than it had in the past, and said this could be "an issue" for smaller businesses and could lead to "longer turn-around times" for approvals.
But he stressed that the bank was "determined to repay" the taxpayers' investment in AIB by "doing all we can to support the recovery of existing business and providing finance and advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs".
"We are doing this not just because it's the right thing to do or the fact that we have been mandated to do it, but because the very essence of AIB's future survival and prosperity is dependent on the need to reconnect with the ordinary people and the ordinary, everyday businesses," he said.
AIB was "intensifying" efforts to meet customers through workshops and seminars and through "involvement in the wider business community", Mr Webb said, and has introduced a standard SME loan-application form and offers a guide to filling it out.
A Job-Creation Loan Scheme was another pillar of AIB's SME lending effort -- the bank had received 962 applications for €36.5m under that scheme since it was launched in the third quarter of last year, Mr Webb said.
He said the bank was making €100m available in loans of between €10,000 and €250,000 at an interest rate of 4.4pc.