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A Key Problem For Ireland’s Traditional Banks (1 0f Many?)

So the first of the Q1 banking results have been published.

For Bank of Ireland customers the key information is that an extension of the loan repayment holiday beyond September looks unlikely.

For shareholders in the Bank, the key info is that the institution reported an underlying loss of €235m for the first three months of this year due to the impact of the coronavirus and it’s share price was down 14.9% by the close of business on the Dublin Stock Exchange by the end of the day of that announcement.

With the economic outlook described by BOI as ‘Uncertain’ they report ‘no loan loss outcomes related to COVID-19 have been experienced’ (yet!) and they have set aside 250 million for that eventuality.

In terminology that could be useful for all business owners ‘going forward in the current climate’, the bank says it has ‘responded dynamically to the crisis, demonstrating operational resilience and
constructive engagement with all key stakeholders… and given significance of economic shock, previous guidance for 2020 has been removed.’

It would remind you of a tweet that went viral from actor and writer Michael Spicer.

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There have been 86,000 payment breaks granted in the Ireland and the UK since the mid-March launch which break down as follows.


This is the future vision of the bank CEO at this time.

However from an SME perspective, there are some key issues that need resolving, even recognised by bank staff themselves.

In fact its opinion from one of those organisations you didn’t even know existed. The Irish Banking Culture Board, established in April 2019, as an independent industry initiative, fully funded by the five retail banks operating in Ireland (Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, Permanent TSB & Ulster Bank) with the aim of ‘rebuilding trust in the sector’, after a series of overcharging scandals and generally uncool shennanigans.

They openly ackowledge a need for banks to look at their approach to relationship building and communications with the SME sector, given the direction the pillar institutions all appeared to have headed in recent years.

‘Previously many SMEs relied upon their relationship with their local bank manager to facilitate their banking needs. With reduced branch networks and increasing use of online services, these relationships have changed significantly.’

The group acknowleges ‘small businesses told us that when they tried to access loans or financial advice, it was difficult to speak directly to someone with an understanding of the day-to-day realities of running a small business. Many SMEs were also not aware of the range of financing supports in place for them from banks and others, or how best to access these through, for example, the preparation of business plans to support credit applications.’ which would reflect the experience of many.

This was the official position of the Irish Culture Board before the economic lockdown.

In many cases even speaking to a human is a challenge.

How do you go forward from there? That would appear to be just one of the major problems the banking sector has to tackle.

Can I just speak to the manager please??