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'An alarming lack of empathy' - AIB urged to delay changing charges and fees

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AIB chief executive Colin Hunt

AIB chief executive Colin Hunt

AIB chief executive Colin Hunt

THE consumer representative on the Irish Banking Culture Board has called on AIB to hold off on changing its fees and charges regime for customers.

The largely-taxpayer-owned bank is planning to remove an option that allows customers to avoid paying a maintenance charge and fees from the end of May.

At the moment current account holders do not pay maintenance and transactions fees if they keep a minimum balance of €2,500 in their account on a quarterly basis.

But the bank has been contacting customers in the past few days to tell them it now intends to apply maintenance fees of €4.50 per quarter, while transaction fees will also be applied to current accounts at the end of every quarter.

Asked if it would not hold back making the changes given the impact of Covid-19 on incomes, the bank said this week it was pressing ahead with the changes.

Consumer representative on the Irish Banking Culture Board Padraic Kissane said the move shows “a profound lack of understanding in what the entire country is trying to deal with at present”.

He has written to the chairman of the Banking Culture Board to get it to put pressure on AIB to pause the new fees and charges regime for six months.

“There is an alarming lack of empathy and, in short, it should not have been sent just as the entire country is heading into a weekend without any certainty of what is happening next week not to mind in May.”

The changes mean a quarterly maintenance fee of €4.50 will be introduced for current accounts.

And from May 30 an ATM withdrawal fee of costs 35c will apply and over-the-counter transactions cost of 39c will apply no matter how much money is kept in the current account.

Some calculations indicate that this will cost customers between €100 and €150 a year.

AIB said the European interest rate environment has made it difficult for the bank to provide maintenance and transaction fee-free banking.

“We want to ensure that AIB can continue to invest in a market-leading current account proposition and provide a high standard of banking services to all our current account customers.”

Some calculations indicate that this will cost customers between €100 and €150 a year.

The bank will continue to provide banking free of maintenance and transactions fees for student, graduate, Advantage (for those over 66) and basic bank accounts, and those who pay an AIB mortgage out of their current account with the bank.

AIB came in for criticism last week for trying to introduce a 1c charge for customers who make contactless payments from May. It has since dropped the contactless fee proposal.

Online Editors