Only 220,000 bank customers have switched as Ulster and KBC prepare to shut 1m accounts

Just 220,000 new personal accounts have been opened so far this year, despite the impending closure of around one million bank accounts in the coming months due to the departures of Ulster Bank and KBC from the Irish market, new figures show.

According to figures released by Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, over 9,500 bank accounts are being created a week as two of the nation’s major banks prepare to exit the Irish market.

However, so far under a quarter of a million new personal accounts have been opened by the three main retail banks – AIB, Bank of Ireland, and Permanent TSB.

The BPFI acknowledged there is a “significant task” ahead given that, between them, Ulster Bank and KBC have in the region of one million account holders, and said its members will “continue our extensive efforts” until the last customer account is closed.


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KBC began writing to customers on June 1st informing them they had six months to close their accounts.

Ulster Bank began the same process of contacting customers in tranches and plans to finish this process of closing all customer accounts in the first quarter of 2023.

BPFI chief executive Brian Hayes said: “BPFI and its members fully recognise the upheaval which customers are currently experiencing and understand that many customers may feel daunted by the task involved in moving their banking services.

“Today we have also published new figures showing that over 220,000 personal accounts have been opened so far this year with over 9,000 personal current accounts being opened on a weekly basis.” Mr Hayes added the banks will publish data on a monthly basis, and track the numbers to assess and manage operational capacity in the system.

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