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Charlie Weston: Despicable banks treat savers who saved them with contempt by constantly cutting rates

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'Miserly savings rates, high mortgage rates and extortionate charges on current accounts show that banks are all take and no give.' Stock photo: PA

'Miserly savings rates, high mortgage rates and extortionate charges on current accounts show that banks are all take and no give.' Stock photo: PA

'Miserly savings rates, high mortgage rates and extortionate charges on current accounts show that banks are all take and no give.' Stock photo: PA

Banks want it every way - and savers are suffering from this more than most with banks paying rock-bottom interest rates on deposits. Bankers are quick to cite the fact that eurozone rates are at zero and have been for a while now.

But, in an example of wanting their cake and eating it, banks have been reluctant to reduce mortgage rates to the levels seen across the eurozone.

And our banks are reaping millions of euro by charging us for having current accounts. Some of the charges on these day-to-day transaction accounts are inordinately high.

Miserly savings rates, high mortgage rates and extortionate charges on current accounts show that banks are all take and no give.

So far this year savings rates have been cut at AIB, EBS, KBC, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, according to Mark Whelan of price comparison site Bonkers.ie.

Banks have learned that the best way to do this is incrementally. So you do not see large reductions in savings interest rates. Instead, there are regular, small cuts, announced every couple of weeks.

Last March Bank of Ireland set the bar at a psychologically important low when it reduced its demand deposit rate to 0pc.

At least banks are not paying negative interest rates on consumer deposit accounts. AIB and Bank of Ireland are charging corporate customers for depositing money with them.

The most recent savings rate cuts came in the last few of days from KBC Bank. The rate on the bank's Smart Access deposit account goes to 0.30pc from August 4.

So if you put €10,000 away for a year you will get the princely sum of €30 back in interest before DIRT.

After tax, you will be left with €18.30. This will not come near to filling your car with fuel.

Banks point to the low European Central Bank rate.

But that is a hollow argument when mortgage rates have fallen by so little.

The best savings rates available at the moment are for regular savers, who are willing to commit to a certain minimum monthly deposit and to not withdraw their funds for a fixed period of time.

EBS is offering a 3pc return to regular savers who deposit a minimum of €100 a month, AIB is offering 1.5pc, KBC is cutting its regular saver rates to 0.5pc in August.

Despite the historically-low rates across the board, there are still some reasonable savings rates to be found, if consumers are willing to shop around and switch.

But banks deserve no thanks for the generally despicable treatment of savers.

So much for saving them.

Sunday Indo Business