We asked readers to share their experiences dealing with Irish banks. Here is only part of the answers.
“I had a real nightmare dealing with AIB,” writes Suzanne. “I was trying to suspend my loan payments for a period of three months while I was unemployed. It took me seven weeks to finally get approved, at which point I had to borrow money from a relative just to cover it. I spent over 18 hours on hold waiting to speak to someone during that time. They finally told me that I was approved, but they put in writing in the paperwork that I had to pay off the entire loan at once after the deferment period.
“I called to explain that I couldn’t do this, and if they could put it in writing that that wasn’t the agreement and they said, no, that was the way it had to be done in the paperwork, but don’t worry, they would. never expect me to actually do that [and] I just need to call them at the end of the term to explain my situation again! I had no choice but to sign. Just to add insult to injury, I had to go to a branch to sign the documents. I had to repeat the story four times, to four different members of staff, in the middle of a busy bank, and one of them laughed at me because he thought it was so funny and complicated.”
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A reader named Catriona volunteers with an Irish-language youth club, which she says is “something like a Gaeltacht course but in a youth club format.”
The club recently applied to open a Bank of Ireland account. “We fill the piles of paperwork [and] one of the things we had to provide was the constitution or the rules of our organization.”
Catriona did everything that was asked of her and handed it over to the local branch of the Bank of Ireland.
A few days later, he received a call to say that the club’s bylaws/rules “were in Irish and neither he nor anyone on his compliance team could read Irish and that I would have to provide him with an English translation. I pointed out that there must be someone at Banc na hÉireann who can read Irish, look at our constitution and confirm to him: ‘Yes, that is a typical constitution for a youth club.’ He said there wasn’t. I asked him to see if he could find someone at Banc na hÉireann who could read the statutes of our very ordinary and incontrovertible youth club. That was on July 8. I am still waiting for a response and am not hopeful that we will get our account even though all of our finances and compliance matters are completely in order. ‘Banc na hÉireann’ my eye.”
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We also heard from Paul. “I joined the Bank of Ireland when Ulster Bank is closing down,” he says. “I went to the branch, where there was a long line for one staff member (let’s call her Sharon) and none for the other, as she was at the desk getting foreign currency. She had a UK check to present and needed to verify my identity for online banking. So, happy days, I went to the desk that was free. She presented the UK check and told me that I had to use the branch phone to verify my identity. As she walked away I turned and asked… How will they know it’s me on the phone? Response: ‘You have to check that with my colleague Sharon first!’ I just went home.
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It wasn’t all bad, mind you. “Changed from Ulster Bank to AIB,” Orna wrote. She was given an eight-week wait at a local branch to make an appointment to make the switch. Then “the AIB center in the Dundrum shopping center was recommended to him – appointment made within 24 hours, new account set up, very good in every way.”