The subsidiary of AIB has confirmed that it is undertaking a strategic review of its operations, which could see it stop offering savings products and current accounts and focus on mortgages instead.
Last year was a pretty turbulent time for the Irish banking sector.
Both Ulster Bank and KBC announced their plans to exit the Irish market, which will severely reduce the level of choice and competition in the banking sector.
And now, in more unwelcome news, EBS has confirmed that it’s undertaking a major strategic review of its operations, which could lead to it reducing the products and services that it offers.
Here’s all you need to know…
Who is EBS?
EBS is probably a familiar name to many, having been around since 1935.
However, like so many financial providers, it fell foul of the banking crisis and in 2011 was sold to AIB for €1, of which it is now a subsidiary.
However until now it has operated as a standalone and separately branded entity to AIB.
What does EBS offer?
EBS currently offers a range of mortgage and savings products. It also offers a very basic but very cheap current account.
And it sells life insurance products from Irish Life by acting as a tired agent.
It’s been quite active in the mortgage market in recent years. And while its rates aren’t the most competitive, it does offer a very competitive cashback deal on its mortgages for first-time buyers, movers and switchers.
What has EBS said?
In a recent statement, EBS noted that it was operating in ‘a rapidly changing banking environment’ and that it was currently undertaking a strategic review of its operations that ‘build on the current proposition’.
While the statement was quite vague, and indeed could even mean that EBS might try to expand its offering, the early consensus is that this is unlikely and that EBS is instead looking to pull back on its current account and savings business and focus on selling mortgages instead.
The mortgage market in Ireland is growing rapidly and it is expected to continue to grow over the coming decade as the demand for housing remains strong.
Meanwhile, savings rates are at record low levels. The ECB is still charging banks for keeping money on deposit with it, meaning many savings accounts are actually losing banks money.
Meanwhile, in the current account market, N26 and Revolut continue to go from strength to strength, vastly outshining what EBS offers, while An Post has ramped up its offering over the past year too.
A retirement of the EBS brand altogether is another more drastic option.
How many customers does EBS have?
The EBS has around 400,000 current account and savings customers as well as 68 branches around the country.
It also has a small share of the mortgage market.
So any retrenchment by EBS will have a big impact.
It's also likely to cause a headache for Ulster Bank and KBC customers who might have been considering moving their current account to EBS.
What do customers need to do?
There’s nothing for EBS customers to do for now.
The strategic review is unlikely to be completed before the end of the year. And in the event of any changes to its services, EBS has said it will notify its customers. And of course, bonkers.ie will keep you updated with any further significant developments too!
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