The latest figures compiled by the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) show that, by end-June 2008, some 53,000 personal bank accounts have been switched under the IBF Personal Account Switching Code since its introduction in February 2005. An average of 1,200 personal bank accounts continue to be switched each month.
A new dimension to the Switching Code was introduced on 1 September 2008. Customers who switch account providers have the option of closing the old account or keeping it open – prior to this, the old account was closed on successful completion of the switch. This new feature arises from consumer research (according to a survey of 1,000 adults by TNS mrbi in December 2006) showing that, while 50% of respondents would prefer to close the old account immediately, some 47% would prefer to leave it open for some period of time thereafter.
Pat Farrell, IBF Chief Executive, states: “The continued level of switching activity among consumers reflects both the intensity of competition in the marketplace and the perceived ease of switching under the Code. The additional option of leaving the old account open now makes the switching process even easier for consumers. Moreover, not alone is the Switching Code delivering in its own right, it is also acting as a catalyst for customer mobility right across the board and financial institutions are responding to this in their range of service and product offerings.”
Further information: Felix O’Regan, Head of PR and Public Affairs, tel. 6715311, 087 6481644
1. The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) and the country’s leading retail financial institutions developed the Personal Switching Code, which came into practice in February 2005. The Code is designed to make switching personal bank accounts as quick and convenient as possible.
2. The procedures on account switching cover current, deposit and savings accounts held by personal and business customers that are not subject to advance notice of withdrawal or encumbered by debt, guarantees or other obligations.
3. The IBF member institutions supporting the Code have made three key commitments to customers as follows:
to provide to customers a ‘switching pack’ that clearly and simply explains the process of switching accounts, who is responsible for what, how long it will take and exactly what the customer has to do;
to have the customer’s new account up and running within 10 working days from the bank’s approval of the customer’s application;
and to complete the process of switching everything over from the old to the new account – incl. standing orders and direct debits – within 7 working days of a signed (by customer) Transfer Account Form being sent by the new bank to the customer’s previous bank.
4. IBF worked closely with the Financial Regulator and other relevant parties in finalising the Code and a Financial Regulator representative attended, as an observer, at the meetings of the IBF Working Group that agreed its content.
5. The following retail banking institutions subscribe to the Code:
ACCBank AIB Bank Anglo Irish Bank
Bank of Ireland EBS Building Society First Active
Halifax ICS Building Society IIB Bank
Irish Nationwide Building Society National Irish Bank Northern Rock
permanent tsb Postbank Ulster Bank
6. All financial institutions, including non-IBF members, are welcome to subscribe these Codes.