Dedicated phonelines for vulnerable customers moving bank account set up by five retail banks as latest figures show 434,000 accounts opened to date in 2022
As account opening activity increases, BPFI publishes guide on moving account for customers in vulnerable circumstances, and those helping them, as part of public information campaign
Tuesday 4th October 2022 – Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has today announced that all five retail banks have put in place dedicated phonelines for customers in vulnerable circumstances who are moving bank accounts due to the exit of Ulster Bank and KBC from the market. The announcement comes as new BPFI figures (report attached above) show account opening increased again in August with 70,000 personal current accounts (PCAs) opened in the four weeks ending 2nd September. This brings to 434,000 the number of PCAs opened in the year to date, which is on average 12,400 a week.
As account opening activity increases, BPFI is today highlighting the supports in place by banks for customers who may need additional assistance as they move accounts. In tandem with the dedicated phonelines set up by all the retail banks, BPFI have also launched a new guide aimed at customers in vulnerable circumstances, and those caring for them in a personal or private capacity, who are in the process of moving to a new financial services provider. The guide, which is part of a wider information campaign, details the different types of circumstances which may lead a customer to require additional assistance as they move account and provides examples of the various types of solutions which banks can put in place.
Speaking on these initiatives Louise O Mahony, Head of Sustainable Banking, BPFI said: “BPFI and its member banks are acutely aware that moving bank can be a daunting experience, particularly for customers who may be in vulnerable circumstances. There are many reasons a customer may need additional support during this process. This includes customers who cannot attend a branch due to mobility issues, those who may have an accessibility need due to hearing loss or customers who need additional support due to diminished cognitive ability. Indeed, in many cases it may be a trusted family member, a carer, or a legal representative acting on behalf of the customer who needs help during the account moving process.”
“That is why today we are highlighting our dedicated phonelines which are in place across the five retail banks for customers who need this extra assistance as well as the guide we have published which aims to reassure customers that help is at hand from their existing or chosen new bank as they move accounts, regardless of their situation. Frontline staff – online, on the phone, or in the branch – are trained to help and we are encouraging all those customers who feel they need additional support to contact their new provider on their dedicated phoneline to discuss their individual situation. Banks understand the importance of facilitating independent decision making for all customers, and while some cases are quite complex and may take more time our member banks understand that each case is different and will work with you to find a solution,” Ms O’Mahony concluded.
Today’s initiative forms part of a wider programme of work which BPFI and its member banks have undertaken in recent months to ensure dedicated resources and supports are in place for customers who require additional assistance as they move bank account. This has included ongoing and in-depth training for front line bank staff as well as regular cross-bank meetings through BPFI’s Vulnerable Customer Forum to discuss and agree a shared understanding of the challenges for and best practice approach to customers in vulnerable circumstances. Extensive engagement has also taken place with a range of stakeholders including Safeguarding Ireland, the Department of Social Protection, the HSE and the Decision Support Services* to road test the industry’s approach for customers moving bank account who need additional support.
The launch today of each bank’s dedicated phoneline and the BPFI guide is being further supported by a national and local radio and digital advertising campaign and over the coming weeks BPFI will further engage with Safeguarding Ireland and other advocacy groups to share awareness of the issues that can arise for vulnerable customers as they move financial service provider and to ensure our new guide reaches as many impacted customers as possible. A copy of the guide, along with a host of other information on moving bank account is available on BPFI’s movingaccount.ie website here.
* The Decision Support Service is a new service established under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. It will provide an essential service for people who face difficulties exercising their decision-making capacity.
Note: The dedicated vulnerable customer phonelines for those who need additional support moving accounts are as follows:
- AIB 0818 227 056
- Bank of Ireland 1800 946 146
- KBC Bank 1800 804 472
- permanent tsb 0818 818 721
- Ulster Bank Ireland 1800 656 001
Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland. Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.