Soaring bank charges hitting business and farming – Mayo TD

‘Rates in some cases increased by up to 300%’

Sligo News File Online.

Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary.
Mayo Fianna Fail TD
Dara Calleary.

A Mayo Fianna Fail TD has said some banks are increasing their charges to business by as much as 300%, a move which has been sanctioned by the Central Bank.

Dara Calleary said in a statement that increased charges being heaped on  businesses and farmers currently struggling with high rents, rates and other input costs will make what is an already challenging situation all the more difficult for the sectors.

The charges were coming at a time when banks are closing branches and scaling back on services, yet, he said “the business community is now expected to fork out more money to maintain their accounts.

“Business customers will see the charges on their accounts soar by up to 300% in some cases, with certain customers expected to pay €250 a year for services.”

He said the new levies will also see charges for chequebooks increase – “in one case a book of 50 cheques has soared from €4.05 to €15.

“This will have a major impact on self-employed people and farmers, who may be more reluctant to pay the massively inflated charges and will prefer to resort to keeping cash on site or in their homes, which in itself poses security concerns.”

There is a complete lack of competition in the business banking sector, he said. “Banks are consistently increasing charges, and pushing up the financial burden on businesses, which are already struggling to remain viable.

“Banks and government are pushing people to online banking – this is no benefit in many areas of Mayo with poor or no broadband.”

The government, he said, has done nothing to help small and medium businesses, “and the Central Bank has seen fit to approve every rate hike or charge that the banks have proposed. 

“The Central Bank has an onus to ensure that customer interests are
protected, but unfortunately, small and medium businesses across the county will suffer more hardship as a result of these additional charges.”