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Banking Sector

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 19 October 2021

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Ceisteanna (362)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

362. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Finance the policies he is pursuing to ensure banking services are maintained in rural towns. [50505/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The retail financial services sector is undergoing a major period of change.  This year so far we have seen several major announcements including the withdrawal of Ulster Bank by NatWest and the potential withdrawal of KBC Bank Ireland, the closure of a large number of bank branches by Bank of Ireland and a smaller number by AIB. Decisions in this regard, including the management of branch networks, are the sole responsibility of the board and management of the banks, which must be run on an independent and commercial basis.

While these recent announcements are regrettable, Ireland continues to have an extensive network for banking services, including post offices and credit unions. In addition, AIB and Bank of Ireland customers can now lodge and withdraw money and Ulster Bank customers can lodge money at 900 An Post post offices across the country.

The changes currently taking place in the Irish retail banking sector are a reflection of the wider challenges banking is facing, not only in Ireland but also abroad. It is because of these changes that I announced in Dáil Éireann on 1 July 2021 that my Department will undertake a broad-ranging review of the retail banking sector to look at, inter alia, expectations of the sector, competition, consumer protection and consumer choice, the sector’s key role in the provision of sustainable credit to the economy, the availability of credit to SMEs from both banks and non-banks and options to further develop the mortgage market. The structure and delivery channels of the retail banking sector will also be assessed as part of this review.  

I am currently considering the Terms of Reference and will bring a Memo for Information to Government in the coming weeks in advance of their publication. 

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