Irish Outrage Over Banking Fees

IRISH banking customers are furious, as AIB opts to remove their quarterly banking fee charges of up to €100, from accounts on the same day as government issued Covid-19 emergency payments.

Due to lockdown, and major job losses, hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens have been forced to claim the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. While the quarterly banking charges are annoying at the best of times, and deemed unnecessary by some, customers and government ministers alike, have taken to social media to vent their anger at the situation.

Sinn Fein TD Matt Carthy took to Twitter: “Will Irish banks never cop on??? Taking charges out of customers’ accounts in the middle of an emergency is Out Of Order!!”

While another disgruntled customer added: “Appalled to find AIB have taken €63 in quarterly fees from our Acc this morning, the same day my Covid emergency payment landed in our acc! Surely at times like these the fees should be waived?!”

Well-known FM104 presenter Crossy said: “Lads I’ve just been charged €41 in fees by AIB… Is this a thing?? Thought it was like 4 or €5.”

Despite announcing that the bank would cut the introduction of maintenance and transaction fees, due to the Covid-19 crisis, AIB went ahead with their regular quarterly fees as normal. The money was taken automatically from accounts, leaving many questioning the bank’s morals.

Sinn Fein Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty described the situation “disgraceful.” He went on to say: “Today, tens of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs and income as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak will receive their first Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350. This payment will be needed for workers to pay their bills and feed their families. It is disgraceful to learn that AIB, instead of providing relief to these customers, have on the same day decided to charge quarterly fees to many of these customers who have just lost their jobs. These fees do not apply to customers with more than €2,500 in their accounts, but if you have just lost your job as a result of this outbreak they do.”

In a drawn out statement, explaining the need for these quarterly fees, a spokesperson for AIB caused further anger, as they concluded: “Customers can avoid these fees by maintaining a balance of €2,500 in their account.”

At a time when so many Irish citizens find themselves out of work, and therefore out of pocket, the bank’s statement advising customers, that those with a minimum account balance of €2,500 will avoid the charges, has caused outrage. With many taking to social media to let their feelings be known, it appears that the bank may find themselves with numerous account closures, once the current situation ends.

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Written by

Gavin Lambe-Murphy

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