Current Accounts - Ireland - August 2011
Since Mintel last examined the Irish current account market in 2009, the situation facing both consumers and financial services providers has changed considerably. Both have their respective problems to address.
Consumers' efforts to reduce expenditure and curtail outgoings are negatively impacting upon current account providers' cross-selling opportunities. Banks' efforts to repair their balance sheets mean higher charges, fees and overdraft rates on current accounts.
Although the Irish current account market is now well established and mature, it arguably lacks competitiveness. In contrast to the economic boom years when the arrival of overseas banks (including Halifax/Bank of Scotland and Postbank) brought intense competition to the RoI banking sector, this is no longer the case. Currently, only five financial institutions offer current account facilities to RoI consumers: Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank, National Irish Bank and Permanent TSB. Although NI consumers have access to a far broader selection of current account providers, it remains the case that four banks – Northern Bank, Ulster Bank, First Trust Bank and Bank of Ireland – dominate NI's current account market.
Some questions answered in the report include:
- Changing relationships – How has the relationship between Irish consumers and current account providers been affected by the events of the past couple of years?
- Impact of the recession – In what way has the recession impacted upon demand for current accounts?
- Evolving to meet consumer needs – How have the recession and financial crisis affected banks' current account product offerings, fees and service charges?
- Preferred banking channels – What channels are consumers using to manage their current accounts? How has usage of online banking progressed?
- What appeals to consumers – What features do consumers have on their current accounts? And what are they using current accounts for? What are the deciding factors when consumers are choosing a current account provider?
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