Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (283)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

283. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to financial institutions refusing to provide business bank accounts not including credit facilities to persons previously adjudicated bankrupt and who have since been discharged from bankruptcy; his views on the practice; the options relating to financial services available to such persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38760/20]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy may be aware, as the Minister for Finance I have no function in relation to bankruptcy, which is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Justice. The provision of products or services, including a business bank account, to a business or consumer is a ultimately a commercial decision for regulated financial service providers to make on a case-by-case basis.

I am advised that the Central Bank does not have any remit over bankruptcy matters, and relevant rules under the Central Bank’s remit do not include any criteria in relation to the operation of business bank accounts for those affected by bankruptcy.

However, Provision 2.11 of the Consumer Protection Code 2012 (the Code) provides that a regulated entity must ensure that in all its dealings with customers and within the context of its authorisation it, without prejudice to the pursuit of its legitimate commercial aims, does not, through its policies, procedures, or working practices, prevent access to basic financial services. The Code’s definition of a consumer excludes incorporated bodies with an annual turnover in excess of €3 million in the previous financial year, but includes incorporated bodies having an annual turnover of €3 million or less in the previous financial year (provided that such body shall not be a member of a group of companies having a combined turnover greater than the said €3 million).

If a consumer is not satisfied with how a regulated firm is dealing with them, or they believe that the regulated firm is not following the requirements of the Central Bank’s codes and regulations or other financial services law, they should make a complaint directly to the regulated firm. If they are still not satisfied with the response they receive from the regulated firm, they can refer their complaint to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO).