Central Bank publishes new data on bank account openings and closures

09 September 2022 Press Release

Central Bank of Ireland

  • 24% of KBC Bank and Ulster Bank accounts closed since the start of 2022
  • 600,311 accounts were opened in the three main remaining banks in the first eight months of the year
  • Updated figures will be published monthly

As part of its ongoing work to supervise the withdrawal of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank from the Irish market, the Central Bank of Ireland  has today published the first in a new series of statistics on bank account migration, showing the trends in account closures and openings. This information is being published to show the level of activity in the large scale migration of customer bank accounts taking place as a result of the decisions by KBC Bank and Ulster Bank to close accounts as part of their exit from the Irish market.  The data is based on information provided by both banks and the three largest remaining retail banks, Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, and permanent tsb.

The data shows:

  • A total of 292,996 accounts have been closed by customers in Ulster Bank and KBC Bank in the year to end-August. Of these, 140,573 were current accounts, and 152,423 were deposit accounts.
  • In total, 24% of the current and deposit accounts that were open at the beginning of the year in Ulster Bank and KBC Bank had been closed by end-August 2022. The data also shows that the pace of account closures has accelerated in recent weeks.
  • 600,311 accounts were opened in the three main remaining banks in the first eight months of the year. The majority of these were current accounts (434,166). This is approximately 46% higher than the number of accounts opened by this group of banks in the first eight months of previous years.
  • The number of active credit and debit cards held by customers of the exiting banks declined by 21% since the beginning of 2021.
  • Of the total new accounts opened in the first eight months of 2022, 56% were opened online, while the remainder were opened in a branch. The average waiting time for a branch appointment was 8 working days at end-August 2022.  

Director of Consumer Protection, Colm Kincaid, said: “It is positive to see that so many Ulster Bank and KBC Bank customers have taken the steps to move their accounts at this stage in the process, and it is clear that bank staff are working extremely hard to assist those customers. For customers who are yet to complete migrating their account, banks must ensure that all and every reasonable measure is taken to ensure those customers are enabled to switch.

However, more remains to be done to improve the experience of customers moving their account, and for too many customers that experience has not been satisfactory. In particular, banks need to continue to increase resources and improve processes and training in order to equip their staff to meet the challenges this exercise presents. We will continue to engage closely with all of the banks as part of our supervisory work in the coming weeks and months to ensure that customers are properly supported.”

The Central Bank will continue to publish updated data on a monthly basis, as part of our ongoing work to ensure the withdrawal of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank is managed by the banking system in a manner that protects the best interests of consumers and the stability of the financial system overall.