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Guiding Principles for Customer Support for Account Closure, Opening & Moving 

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Written In-House

Guiding Principles for Customer Support for Account Closure, Opening & Moving 


The impending departure from the Irish market of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland creates an unprecedented and significant challenge for the customers, staff and wider organisations of those banks that are leaving the Irish market and those that are remaining. It is also an opportunity for the industry to demonstrate its commitment to rebuilding trust through clear and timely communications, allocation of required resources and systems as well as a commitment to managing the transition in a fair and transparent manner in recognition of the industry’s unique societal role and responsibilities. 

In this context, Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) and the Irish Banking Culture Board have come together to develop a joint set of Guiding Principles (‘the Principles’) agreed to by our mutual member banks (AIB, BOI, KBC Bank Ireland, PTSB & Ulster Bank) for the management of this major change in the Irish banking market. 

The Board of the IBCB, composed of a wide range of stakeholders, the majority of whom represent the interests of customers, will require each of its member banks, both those exiting and remaining in the market, to provide regular updates to it on how they are adhering to each of the Principles in their respective projects, supported by agreed metrics. 

The Principles do not reference member banks’ individual obligations arising under applicable regulation or legislation. Compliance with same by member banks is expected at all times. 

Guiding Principles for Customer Support for Account Closure, Opening & Moving 

The following Principles have been agreed to guide our mutual member banks’ engagement with, and support for, customers and staff throughout the period ahead: 

  1. Adequate resources will be deployed to meet the demand for account closing, opening and moving accounts. 
  2. Clear and specific information will be made available to customers about the options available for moving their banking services, and appropriate supports will be available to those customers requiring particular assistance:
    • Information provided will be clear, with any technical terms explained fully, easily accessible and provided on a regular basis as relevant, 
    • Contact details for further information, including hours and means of accessibility will be communicated to customers, 
    • Requirements regarding accessing various banking products will be clearly communicated to the customer, 
    • The timeframe for withdrawal from the market by departing banks will be clearly outlined (noting that this may be subject to change and subject to commercial, regulatory, and legal considerations), underpinned by the objective of providing “certainty periods” to those impacted (i.e., when action will be required by the customer.). 

3. Clear direction and support will be provided to front line staff on the handling of customer applications and the opening of accounts, with no customers being refused access to banking services, subject to compliance with legal and regulatory obligations. 

The successful management of this significant market change will also require other key sectoral actors to commit to playing their part in facilitating an effective transition for customers and member banks, and ongoing engagement between the banking industry and these parties is essential. 

BPFI and IBCB members subject to these Principles include: 

  • AIB (Allied Irish Banks) 
  • Bank of Ireland 
  • KBC Bank Ireland 
  • PTSB 
  • Ulster Bank Ireland DAC 

About the Irish Banking Culture Board: 

The Irish Banking Culture Board is an independent industry initiative established and funded by the five retail banks in Ireland (Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, PTSB & Ulster Bank) with the purpose of working with their member banks to build trustworthiness in order to assist the industry in regaining public trust. The IBCB’s goal is to act as a transformative influence on culture within the banking sector. The Board is independent with a non-banking majority, whose members are drawn from across Irish society. The role of the IBCB is to be an independent voice advocating for cultural change in the Irish banking industry. The IBCB will demand that participating banks improve culture, customer outcomes and competence. Rooted in the knowledge that a changed culture will change outcomes, the IBCB promotes ethical behaviour and advocates for humanity, decency, and respect in the banking sector. The IBCB will not act as a lobbying or representative organisation. It will not act as a regulatory body nor duplicate the work of individual banks, the BPFI or the regulator. For more information www.irishbankingcultureboard.ie 

About Banking & Payments Federation Ireland 

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) is the voice of banking and payments in Ireland. Representing over 100 domestic and international member institutions, BPFI mobilises the sector’s collective resources and insights to deliver value and benefit to members, enabling them to build competitive sustainable businesses which support customers, the economy and society. 


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