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Bank bungling and bonuses

Most of us assume that a maintenance fee for a service means that the service in question will operate as expected – efficiently, reliably and continuously available.

The change from in-person communication and financial-service provision by our banks means that customers must increasingly rely on the online technology the banks offer in lieu of personal contact. Generally, reliability and accessibility are acceptable depending on your expectations. An apology when the technology fails is fair enough, but it doesn’t really cut the mustard when these apologies must be offered frequently for regular technology failures. It happened again for Bank of Ireland last month. Apart from the farcical sight of hundreds of people queueing up at ATMs to access ‘free money’, the reality for thousands of fee-paying customers was that their daily financial dealings were impacted. The service they pay for was not delivered. That is unacceptable, particularly at a time when savers and borrowers feel they are being short-changed while banks continue to maximise their financial returns by not fully passing on deposit interest rate increases, while also charging one of the highest lending rates in the European Union. The next ambition for the banks is to reinstate their historical bonus structure, and already, share bonuses have been put in place. This is a hard pill for the public to swallow as we are required to pay for a service that is essential but is not working as it should. The public still owns substantial portions of both pillar banks, especially AIB, and deserve better than this.