Around 70,000 people open new bank accounts each month as consumers and businesses scramble to secure new financing arrangements before Ulster Bank and KBC exit the Irish market.
365,000 new accounts were opened this year with either surviving banks, credit unions or An Post, according to the latest figures from the Banking and Payments Federations of Ireland (BPFI).
The numbers are dramatically higher than a typical year and banks have rushed to move staff and hire temp workers to handle the volume of activity. Opening a new account can be relatively easy, and in many cases done online, but some cases, including many joint accounts, first-time accounts, and business accounts, require significant documentation or physical presence in the decreasing number of branches.
Even these unprecedented figures are a far cry from the half a million or so current accounts that Ulster Bank and KBC will automatically close next year unless customers act first – an indication the banking sector must continue to make extra efforts resources to account openings for the coming months.
In addition to the increased number of mortgage loan changes and applications for new credit products such as credit cards and overdrafts, the trigger for the wave of bank transfers is the threat of bank closures.
For those moving personal accounts, the need to reroute direct debits and standing orders is a significant concern, while for business customers, establishing new credit facilities is a top priority.
The number of accounts opened fell slightly to 68,000 in the month ended August 5, from 71,000 in the four weeks ended July 8, reflecting the peak of the holiday season. but those numbers are up from 35,000 in April.
The central bank is expected to provide its independent update on the scramble for new bank facilities next month. The regulator warned in April that Ulster Bank or KBC could be prevented from completing their market exit in the absence of backup banking services for their customers, and many observers expect a significant core of banking customers is only just beginning to grapple with the need to switch to deal with vendors as a deadline for permanent closures approaches.
Ulster Bank has around 360,000 current accounts and 300,000 deposit account customers in Ireland, with cohorts of customers six months Notice to switch or close an account after being contacted by the bank.
Ulster Bank began contacting customers in April about the need to close their accounts and plans to have the last accounts closed by next March.
KBC, which had around 130,000 current account customers when it announced its plan to exit the Irish market, has also started notifying customers that they have six months to do so find an alternative.
BPFI CEO Brian Hayes said the banking lobby is encouraging affected customers to visit their website, movingaccount.ie.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/70000-people-opening-new-accounts-each-month-ahead-of-kbc-and-ulster-bank-exits-41932843.html 70,000 people open new accounts each month before KBC and Ulster Bank exit