March 10, 2020
Banks must offer options to defer payments and refund charges for customers affected by Coronavirus – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has written to the Governor of the Central Bank and a number of domestic banks, requesting for a suite of measures to be offered to customers who may be affected through sickness or job loss by the Coronavirus.

Speaking today, Deputy Doherty said:

“Today I wrote to the Central Bank and a number of domestic banks, requesting that they consider a range of options to help those customers who may be affected by the Coronavirus in the coming weeks and months.

“Depending on the spread and impact of Coronavirus, large numbers of workers may suffer from reduced incomes and financial difficulty through either sickness or job losses.

“It is essential that all institutions play a role in addressing this as we address this challenge together, including our banking sector.

“Many customers may be affected by these developments, with a consequent impact on their ability to meet mortgage repayments, and indeed other costs, in the coming months.

“I have therefore written to the Central Bank and a number of domestic banks, including AIB, to introduce a suite of measures that would aid those who may face financial difficulties by easing access to credit, refunding certain charges and deferring certain payments.

“I am pleased to hear that Bank of Ireland will introduce a number of measures, and other institutions in the sector should follow suit.

“Measures could include, without being confined to:

  • Providing facilities that would allow customers to defer mortgage repayments for a period of up to three months;
  • Refunding credit card advance fees for a fixed period of time;
  • Closing fixed-term savings accounts without charge for a fixed period of time;
  • Temporarily increasing borrowing limits in carefully prescribed circumstances for specific customers;
  • Ending card transactions charges on contactless and chip-and-pin payments.

“As we face this challenge together, it is crucial that all of our institutions play their part to ensure that our families and communities are as prepared and protected as possible.”

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