ULSTER BANK HAS sent an initial round of letters and emails to checking and deposit account customers, giving them six months’ notice to find a new service provider and close their old accounts.
It follows KBC Bank’s announcement yesterday that it will begin writing to its roughly 130,000 checking account customers on a phased basis starting in June, giving them 90 days to switch and switch.
Both Belgian-owned KBC and NatWest-owned Ulster are in the process of withdrawing from the market in the Republic of Ireland, as announced last year.
Pending approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), Ulster will sell €7.6bn of assets, including untraceable mortgages, SME loans and 25 branches to the permanent TSB.
AIB plans to buy €4.2bn of outstanding corporate and commercial loans from him, provided the JPAC approves the deal.
But checking and deposit accounts are not part of any of Ulster Bank’s exit agreements with the remaining institutions, meaning customers will have to switch to a new provider.
The current accounts are also not part of the deal KBC signed with the Bank of Ireland to buy more than €8 billion of the bank’s outstanding loans and €4.4 billion of its deposit accounts.
Ulster Bank announced last month that it would soon begin the process of writing to nearly a million checking and deposit account holders “on a rolling and staggered basis, giving them six months’ notice” to choose a new bank and switch their accounts.
In a statement this afternoon, the bank said the first tranche of letters and emails had been sent. Customers are not required to take any action until they receive notification from the bank, he said.
In a statement today, Ulster Bank said: “As indicated on March 28, 2022, we now formally begin writing checking and deposit account customers, on a phased and ongoing basis, to give them six months notice to choose a new provider. and move and close your Ulster Bank accounts.
“These letters/emails are issued in tranches, to help facilitate orderly account switching and new account openings across the industry and to avoid a single cut-off date for customers and the industry.
“Clients are not required to take any action until they receive your letter or email from us; Our branches will remain open throughout this Choose-Move-Close process, to ensure that all customers have support available at the branch, should they require it.”
Ulster Bank also announced changes to its branch services last month to help customers with the move.
Opening hours will remain the same at all Ulster Bank branches. However, as of July 1, Ulster Bank:
- Close counters in all branches from 1:00 p.m. except to facilitate Choose-Move-Close face-to-face assistance to customers;
- Foreign exchange window services except for the presentation of foreign checks;
- They no longer offer night safe services.
“This is an important step in Ulster Bank’s phase-out and we recognize that for our customers, especially those who have worked with us for decades, choosing and switching to a new provider requires effort, time and support,” said a spokesperson for the bank. . bank said today.
“We are taking a responsible and prudent approach that includes regular monitoring and evaluation of progress throughout this process.”
No news is bad news
Support the journal
Their contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that matter to you
support us now
It follows KBC Bank’s announcement yesterday that it will begin “engaging with customers regarding closing their checking accounts” starting June 1.
The Belgian-owned bank will issue closing notices to customers “in stages”, it said, until all customers have been contacted. Upon receipt of a closure notice, customers will have 90 days to close their accounts.
In a statement yesterday, KBC Ireland CEO Ales Blazek said: “Current accounts are not part of the proposed transaction with the Bank of Ireland and, in order to close that business responsibly, we wish to advise customers with as far in advance as possible. so that they can make the necessary plans as we prepare for our complete departure from Ireland.
“Therefore, we will be inviting industry participants to a briefing where we will share our detailed plans for closing checking accounts to minimize the impact on customers.”
In recent weeks, concerns have been raised about how prepared the remaining banks (Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB) are to accept the flood of new customers.
John O’Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union, recently said The newspaper that with the Bank of Ireland and AIB downsizing their physical branch networks, customers are “frustrated” by service levels and long waits for appointments with their local branch.
Describing KBC’s announcement as “irresponsible,” O’Connell said in a statement last night: “It is clear from all reports that the banking sector is not ready to deal with the additional workload that will arise from the departure of Ulster Bank and KBC. All the major retail banks have failed to staff and make available the necessary resources to ensure that staff and customers are not adversely affected by the departure of Ulster Bank and KBC.”
He added: “Bank branch staff and call center staff are the public face of banks. It is not acceptable that they have to deal with the frustrations of the general public due to the continued lack of a clear plan and adequate resources and personnel to ensure an orderly transition.”