Union calls on central bank to force exiting banks to extend exit periods

The central bank has been asked to force Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland to extend their deadlines for exiting this market.

The Financial Services Union also wants the central bank to convene a task force to coordinate an agreed implementation plan.

This should contain a number of measures to relieve bank employees in the coming months, it said.

A survey commissioned by the union shows its members are at a breaking point in coping with the increased workload caused by the departures of Ulster Bank and KBC.

Financial Services Union secretary-general John O’Connell said the survey of its members shows that 88 percent of respondents feel stressed at work either regularly or very regularly.

The study found that 73 per cent feel their workload has increased as a result of the Ulster Bank and KBC exits.

Mr O’Connell called on the regulator to order Ulster Bank and KBC to extend their withdrawal deadlines.

He called on AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB to devote additional resources and staff to assist customers with switching accounts.

All three banks have pledged to provide additional staff to handle the tsunami of bank customers having to switch accounts.

“It was clear from the start that such a seismic change would require setting realistic timelines for completion, additional resources and staff to handle the additional workload, and the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders to ensure there is a transparent and coordinated approach on this major change project,” Mr. O’Connell told the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

He said it was “unfortunate that banks did not take this approach from the start”.

The union reiterated its calls for the central bank to set up a task force to coordinate an agreed implementation plan that includes a range of measures to ease the pressure on staff in the coming months.

Such a plan would include a transparent process where all stakeholders can see how many accounts have been closed and switched on a weekly basis.

It would also involve setting up a dedicated counter in each branch to cater to customers who wish to switch accounts or open a new account due to the exit of both banks.

The FSU wants to prevent banks from switching to cashless branches in the next two years.

And it called for a commitment from Ulster Bank and KBC to keep existing branches open at least until the end of 2023.

There were warnings that closing banks and transferring customer accounts to existing market participants could spell disaster.

Around seven million individual direct debits, recurring card payments and transfers could be affected by the mass migration of customers to new providers.

This includes consumer and business accounts, according to the Banking and Payments Federation.

https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/banking/union-tells-central-bank-to-force-departing-banks-to-extend-exit-deadlines-41688034.html Union calls on central bank to force exiting banks to extend exit periods

Fry Electronics Team

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