Banks are setting up emergency numbers for vulnerable customers forced to move their accounts

The five retail banks have set up hotlines for vulnerable customers who are being forced to move their bank accounts due to the imminent exit of Ulster Bank and KBC from the market.

It comes as 70,000 new personal current accounts were opened in August, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland said.

This means that the number of private checking accounts opened so far this year is 434,000.

The Bankers Association said that averaged 12,400 a week.

As well as the dedicated phone lines set up by the five retail banks, the Banking and Payments Federation has also launched a new guide aimed at customers in vulnerable situations or those who serve them personally or privately who are in the process of moving to a new financial services provider.

The guide, which is part of a broader information campaign, describes the different types of circumstances that can lead to a customer requiring additional assistance when switching accounts and provides examples of the different types of solutions banks can implement.

Louise O’Mahony, head of sustainable banking at the Banking and Payments Federation, said the group’s member banks are acutely aware that switching banks can be a daunting experience, particularly for customers who may be in a vulnerable situation.

“There are many reasons why a customer might need additional support during this process.

“This includes customers who are unable to visit a branch due to mobility issues, those who may have accessibility needs due to hearing loss, or customers who need additional support due to limited cognitive abilities.”

Ms O’Mahony said that in many cases it may be a trusted family member, carer or legal representative acting on the customer’s behalf who needs help during the account transfer process.

She encouraged any customer who felt they needed additional support to contact their new provider on their own phone line to discuss their individual situation.

“Banks recognize the importance of enabling all customers to make independent decisions, and while some cases are quite complex and may take more time, our member banks understand that every case is different and will work with you to bring a to find a solution.”

She said the new initiative is part of a broader program of work that the Banking and Payments Association and its member banks have been undertaking to ensure dedicated resources and support are in place for customers who need additional support.

The special telephone numbers for vulnerable customers for those who need extra assistance switching accounts are: AIB on 0818 227 056, Bank of Ireland on 1800 946 146, KBC Bank on 1800 804 472, Permanent TSB on 0818 818 721 and Ulster Bank on 1800 656 001 . Banks are setting up emergency numbers for vulnerable customers forced to move their accounts

Fry Electronics Team

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