PTSB free banking bid

Niall Brady

PERMANENT TSB will launch an offensive on Tuesday to win customers from Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland by offering free banking to customers who lodge €1,500 or more to their current accounts every month.

The lender, which last year reported pre-tax losses of €922m for 2012, relied on free banking to acquire new customers in the past but abandoned the strategy after mounting loan losses forced it to seek a €4bn taxpayer bailout. Permanent TSB had current account balances of €2bn at the end of last year, unchanged since 2011.

Simon Moynihan of Bonkers.ie, a price comparison site, said most Permanent TSB customers should now qualify for free banking, even those with irregular earnings. The offer will be open to existing customers but they will have to ask for it. "The best bit is that customers do not need to maintain a balance of €1,500 - there is no minimum balance requirement," Moynihan said.

Bank of Ireland requireds customers to keep a balance of at least €3,000 in their accounts at all times to avoid fees - typically €100 a year. AIB has a minimum balance requirement of €2,500 for fee free banking. Ulster Bank is expected to review its free banking offer.

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