The Big Switch is on as all the main retail banks report record account openings.
With almost 500,000 customers from Ulster Bank and KBC looking to find a new provider for their current account, Ireland’s three main banks seem to be the ones hoovering up most of the business.
Here’s what the latest figures can reveal.
AIB increased account openings
Ireland’s largest bank has revealed a 122% increase in new account openings compared to the same week in 2021.
Approximately 11,000 new customers opened either a current account or deposit account with the bank between May 23rd and 29th.
And so far this year customers have opened 160,000 new accounts with AIB. This compares with 99,000 last year. This represents an increase of 61% this year to date.
AIB has also recruited 700 more staff to cope with an increase in demand and redeployed 300 existing staff members, all focused on welcoming new customers.
It also said it’s investing in its digital capabilities to ensure more customers are eligible to open new accounts online. As a result, the bank has said that approximately 70% of personal customers are now eligible to open an account online with AIB.
Speaking about the news, AIB’s Managing Director of Retail Banking, Jim O’Keeffe, said:
The changes in the banking market represent a huge opportunity for AIB to welcome hundreds of thousands of new customers and we are working to ensure they have as seamless an experience as possible.
We are already seeing significant momentum, with our current weekly account opening trends more than double 2021 levels and 70% of personal customers now able to open a new bank account using our digital channels, which also helps free up capacity for those who wish to engage face-to-face with our branch colleagues.
BOI increased account openings
Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland has opened more than double the number of current accounts this year than during the same period last year.
According to the bank’s figures for the week ending 22nd May, the number of personal current accounts opened saw an increase of almost 120% on the same period last year.
BOI said that, at present, 70% of accounts are being opened online, with the remainder being opened in branches. It stated that online account opening is taking less than three days, while in-branch opening is taking less than five.
The bank has also increased the number of dedicated staff available for account opening by 50 to 550.
The additional 50 roles will double the Branch Mobile Support Squad which visits customers at locations and times convenient to them, while 400 of the total additional resources are already in place, with activity underway to fill the remaining roles.
Henry Dummer, Director, Everyday Banking at Bank of Ireland said:
We’re seeing unprecedented account openings, with the volume higher than any record previously seen. At the end of April, we reported an 80% increase on the same period last year and this figure is now almost 120%.
We have put a range of supports in place for consumers, and will continue to do all we can to make the process as smooth as possible. We are recruiting, training and onboarding personnel on a continuous basis to handle increasing volume. We are opening more accounts than ever in our history, but we do anticipate increasing pressure over the rest of 2022 and into 2023 so we are encouraging customers not to leave this until the last minute.
PTSB increased account openings
Permanent TSB has also reported strong demand from customers of Ulster Bank and KBC, with current and deposit account opening increasing 176% compared to this time last year.
Staff from the bank have also begun attending approximately 50% of Ulster Bank’s branches nationwide to support Ulster Bank customers who are looking to move their bank account.
Patrick Farrell, Retail Banking Director at Permanent TSB said that the bank had seen a sharp increase in demand from customers switching out of Ulster Bank or KBC:
Over the past few weeks the level of activity has increased significantly and the bank has seen a substantial increase in the number of new current and deposit account openings, increasing more than 176% compared to this time last year.
We are noticing strong demand for our online services (through which customers can open a current account online) and for appointments in branches for customers who want specific supports to make the move.
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