More than one million Ulster Bank and KBC accounts closed with main banks the big winners

KBC Bank is one of two banks leaving the Irish market. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Charlie Weston

MORE than one million bank accounts were closed since the start of last year in departing banks Ulster Bank and KBC.

New figures show AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB have been the big gainers. They have gained 1.2m new current and deposit accounts since the beginning of last year.

Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland are both winding down their operations in this country and customers have been closing and moving their accounts to the remaining banks here since then.

Central Bank figures show that 92pc of the current accounts in the two departing banks were either closed or inactive by the end of last month.

A total of 104,758 current and deposit accounts were closed in the two exiting banks in the four weeks to the end of April.

This is an increase of 21pc compared with the corresponding four week period to the end of March, the Central Bank said.

In April a total of 44,172 accounts were opened remaining banks, down 11pc on the previous month.

AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB have seen a flood of people opening new accounts with them in the last year or more.

“In total, 1,200,810 current and deposit accounts were opened across the three remaining retail banks since the beginning 2022,” the Central Bank said in its latest update on account openings and closings.

At the end of April some 33,095 current accounts in Ulster Bank and KBC Bank were deemed by banks as the customer’s ‘primary’ account.

But the Central Bank warned that the true figure is likely to be even lower as the definition of a ‘primary’ account is backward looking based on the customer’s past activity.

Accounts will continue to be designated as ‘primary’ until the necessary amount of time has passed since their previous transactions, the Central Bank said.

In April Ulster Bank closed its last remaining 63 branches.

The closure of its remaining branches takes Ulster Bank a step closer to completing its exit from the Republic.

It will continue to operate here for a time that work, but it will be focused almost entirely on winding down its business now that it has effectively ended its public-facing business.

In January, 25 Ulster Bank branches closed as part of the sale of loans and some branches to Permanent TSB, and are reopening as Permanent TSB branches.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Bank of England is planning to reject neobank Revolut’s ongoing application for a banking licence in the UK

Five top employees, including the chief financial officer, have left this year.