For a bank that was bailed out by the public to now charge fees on customers made unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic is nothing short of "a disgrace" and those customers must be refunded immediately.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Galway West TD, Mairead Farrell. She condemned AIB for charging quarterly fees of €100 on the accounts of customers, who this week received their first COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350. The fees do not apply to customers with more than €2,500 in their accounts.
In 2009, AIB, along with its competitor Bank of Ireland, accepted a €3.5 billion bailout from the Government, using taxpayers money, as a part of the Bank Recapitalisation Scheme. Over several further tranches, the total bailout of AIB (including EBS ) amounted to €20.7 billion.
'This is further proof that banking culture has not changed'
"The COVID-19 Unemployment Payment was not intended for the banks, and this pandemic should not be used as an opportunity for banks to squeeze more out of their customers," said Dep Farrell. "This payment will be needed for workers to pay their bills and feed their families. Many are relying on this week's payment to get them and their families through the week."
She said this was "further proof that banking culture has not changed", and she is now calling on the Government, and the Central Bank, to challenge the actions of the banks and to "put the interests of citizens first."
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, has written to the Minister for Finance, Pascal Donohoe, and to the Central Bank, to raise the issue of banks charging additional interest on mortgage-holders who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.