Banks must stop & return fees during Covid19 Emergency – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, today described the actions of AIB in charging their customers, most of whom have lost their jobs, quarterly fees as scandalous.
He reiterated the call of his party’s Finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, for all banks to cancel the fees charged and to refund those customers who have lost their jobs. Separately, Deputy Doherty has written to the Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe and Central Bank raising the issue of banks charging additional interest on mortgage-holders who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Matt Carthy said it was now time for the government to get tough on those banks who are fleecing consumers.
Deputy Carthy said:
“Tens of thousands of workers who have just lost their jobs and income as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak received their first COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 this week. This payment will be needed for those workers to pay their bills and feed their families.
“Many of those people will have been stunned to find out that, on the same day AIB, instead of providing relief to these customers, have deducted quarterly fees from their accounts. This is a scandalous action on the part of a bank that was previously bailed out by those same workers.
“These fees do not apply to customers with more than €2,500 in their accounts, but if you have just lost your job as a result of this outbreak they do.
“I have been in contact with several people in Co. Monaghan who have lost their jobs as a result of this emergency. They are concerned as to how they’ll get through this period financially. They need and they deserve support from institutions. Instead the banks have responded with a kick in the teeth and some AIB customers were hit with quarterly fees by AIB of up to €100.
“All banks must now agree to stop any fee deductions from those who have lost their incomes as a result of the pandemic. AIB should return the monies deducted this week.
“On March 18th the Government and Banking and Payments Federation announced a suite of measures adopted by the five commercial banks to provide relief to customers.
“But, we now know that this has involved the banks charging customers additional interest of as much as €2,000 for applying for mortgage breaks. To learn that they are still charging quarterly fees of up to €100 to customers who have just lost their jobs is further proof that the toxic culture within Irish banking has not changed.
“The government now needs to get tough with the banks. The State is the major shareholder in AIB. It is time for the Government and the Central Bank to demand that all banks start playing a constructive role during this crisis.”