IFA Farm Business Chair Rose Mary McDonagh said farmers making the transition from Ulster Bank will need maximum flexibility and ongoing support.
The issue was discussed at an SME Roundtable event hosted by the Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland this week.
General feedback from the main financial institutions was that unprecedented volumes of applications and authenticity requirements, particularly involving business current accounts, had created significant backlogs and delayed decisions.
However, lessons and improvements in service provision along the way, particularly regarding digital offerings, means everything is on track now and all are keen for new business.
Commenting on the new bank relationships imposed upon many farmers following Ulster Bank’s departure, Rose Mary McDonagh said it’s essential in the current input & energy crisis that farmers have the backing of their banks, which must show a flexible and understanding approach to their customers. Existing overdraft facilities have to be maintained and operational without delay.
“Very shortly, all impacted Ulster Bank customers will have received formal notification and the identify of their new financial provider. Farmers will need to take steps to move to their new finance provider, and I would encourage them to do so sooner rather than later to avoid any unintended consequences. They will need clear direction and support to make the transition/switching process as seamless as possible too,” he said.
Ulster Bank have confirmed that the first customers who received their six-month notice in April 2022, will see their current and deposit accounts frozen on or after Nov 11th and close 30 days later. It will begin with customers who have low reliance on these accounts or may have accounts elsewhere – unless where a customer needs more support, or more time. In such instances, they need to let Ulster Bank know as soon as possible.
Ulster Bank has also confirmed the closure dates for the 25 branches, which will close in January 2023, and re-open shortly thereafter as a Permanent TSB branch.