Are Irish banks offering enough to consumers? - Today FM
Annual profits from the major Irish banks are running into the billions, as the banking sector reaps the rewards from the high interest rate environment. But are Irish banks offering enough back to Irish consumers in the form of competitive rates and services?
Daragh Cassidy, Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, joined a panel of experts on Today FM to discuss.
Listen to the interview above or look at the main points discussed below.
Main points from the interview:
- While high profits are always controversial, it can be argued that they are the price to pay for a strong and stable banking system, which is important for the economy as a whole.
- For consumers, the most important thing is the services on offer, which is an area the Irish banks are lagging behind on. This is particularly true of their online services.
- Compared to neo-banks such such as Revolut and N26, the mobile banking apps available from the main Irish banks are particularly poor, with basic features still not on offer.
- Ulster Bank and KBC had relatively good mobile applications, but since they exited the market, competition has dried up on the digital front.
- Irish banks appear to be actively moving away from customer interaction, by selling off their ATM facilities, providing poor customer service and behind-the-times mobile services.
- Setting up a consumer protection body, independent from the Central Bank, may be a good solution to these issues. For example, the FCA in the UK has been successful in ensuring that deposit rates for savers were pushed up to match the interest rate environment.
- Ireland has a very pro-business culture, which has served the economy well, but perhaps there should be more attention paid to consumer protection.
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