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Permanent TSB plan outshines NTMA's bond issue

THE National Solidarity Bond raised less than half as much money as a Permanent TSB savings account offering punters their interest upfront.

Figures released over the weekend show the National Solidarity Bond took in about €350m from its May launch to the end of last year.

The take-up is believed to have beaten the expectations of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which is issuing the bonds.

But the Irish Independent has learned that a savings product launched by Permanent TSB in August had hoovered up more than twice as much cash as the Solidarity Bond.

Permanent TSB's Interest First account is understood to have taken in about €1bn in deposits by the end of December.

NTMA sources stressed that their Solidarity Bond was not directly comparable with the Permanent TSB account since the bond runs for 10 years and the Interest First accounts are for a maximum of one year.

The NTMA is mindful that people are wary of tying up their money for long periods of time and is gearing up to launch a four-year Solidarity Bond over the coming weeks.

Permanent TSB is also finding savers wary of even a one-year product, prompting the recent launch a six-month version of Interest First.

Industry sources say savers want to keep their cash at their fingertips in the recession in case they lose their jobs or are hit by further tax hikes.

Irish Independent