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Saturday 24 March 2018

BoI still charging €6.35 for letter of reference

Edel Kennedy

BANK of Ireland is to continue charging customers €6.35 for a letter confirming they are of good standing, despite criticisms that it is trying to "get every last cent" from clients.

The letter is requested by customers to give to prospective landlords in order to confirm they have a bank account and are of good standing. It is similar to that provided by an employer to confirm to the landlord that the tenant is in full-time employment.

A spokeswoman for the bank said the service was called a 'Character Inquiry or Status Inquiry'.

"It is highlighted in our fees and charges brochure at a cost of €6.35 inc VAT," she said.

"We do not comment on the breakdown of fees, however, as with all services listed in our fees and charges schedule, there is a charge applied."

She said the charge has been in place for a number of years, despite the letter being of standard format and merely requiring a bank official's signature.

A number of other banks, including AIB, Ulster Bank, and EBS, yesterday said they offered the service but did not charge for it.

A spokesman for EBS said: "It's pretty unusual to get asked for it but when we do we don't charge for it." AIB said business customers were charged, but it does not charge customers with personal accounts.

Outgoing Consumers' Association of Ireland chairman Michael Kilcoyne said it was "clearly board policy" to get every last cent from their customers.

"It's over the top and shows what the banks think of their customers," he told the Irish Independent.

"They are working to extract every last cent from customers but what they should be doing is abolishing these petty charges."

Meanwhile, Ulster Bank is to extend the opening hours of its 137 main branches in the country.

Starting in a fortnight's time, the branches will open weekdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm, with the exception of Wednesday when they will open at 10am.

"We want to improve the level of service customers receive," said Mike Bamber, chief executive of retail markets at the bank.

Irish Independent

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