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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Charlie Weston Twitter Email

Thousands of Ulster and KBC bank accounts remain open despite pressure to close them

KBC Bank is one of two banks leaving the Irish market. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

THOUSANDS of bank accounts remain open at departing Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland.

This is despite strenuous efforts by the banks and regulators to get people to end their business with the two banks and switch to other providers.

Some 675,000 accounts remained open in the two banks at the end of last month, the Central Bank said.

Many people have set up new current and deposit accounts, but have yet to close off their existing accounts with KBC and Ulster over fears something may go wrong as they transition to a new account provider.

At the start of the year there were more than one million accounts between the two banks that have to be shut down as the banks plan to leave this market next year.

Last month Ulster Bank started freezing some accounts and closing them 30 days later. It began with accounts that it believed customers do not rely on.

Central Bank figures show that close to 94,000 current and deposit accounts were closed in Ulster Bank and KBC banks in November.

This works out at 18,728 accounts a week.

It brings the total number of accounts closed in the 11 months to the end of November to 558,636. Of these, 288,994 were current accounts, and 269,642 were deposit accounts.

But there were 674,780 accounts still open in Ulster Bank and KBC Bank at the end of last month.

This is a reduction of 12pc compared to the end of October, and a decrease of 45pc since the beginning of the year.

Of the 392,812 current accounts that remain open, 280,744 were deemed by the banks to be active accounts.

And 191,890 were deemed by the banks as customer’s primary account.

Central Bank statisticians said the number of current accounts defined as primary has declined by half since the beginning of July.

The regulator said 82,145 new accounts were opened in November, largely unchanged compared to the previous month.

In total, 882,470 current and deposit accounts were opened across the three remaining retail banks in the eleven months to end-November.

The Central Bank said that account openings include both openings relating to customers migrating accounts from the exiting banks as well as unrelated business as usual account openings.

And KBC Bank has contacted its customers to tell them it is closing its hubs from March 10 next.

Hubs in Galway, Limerick, Lapps Quay in Cork, Wilton Shopping Centre in Cork, Waterford, Maynooth, Main Street Swords, Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, College Green Dublin, Baggot Street Dublin and Stillorgan will all shut on that date.

But the KBC Hub in the Grand Canal Dublin Hub will remain open until the August 31 next.

The bank said it will continue to support their queries through our contact centre or by email when the hubs close.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland said it plans to invest €11.5m across its nationwide branch network next year.

The bank said its investment plans include refurbishments and enhancements to its branch network, upgrading of branch services including ATMs in a number of locations as well as ongoing maintenance works.

The €11.5m investment will include comprehensive refurbishments for 18 branches.

It also plans to install new external and internal ATMs in a range of branches and improve facilities for staff in more than 12 branches.

Bank of Ireland has 169 branches across the country.

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