A survey of over 4,000 RGDATA members has revealed that the sector faces persistent problems with Ireland’s main banks and that a lack of choice between credit providers is compounding the issue.
The results of the study show that while 73% of retailers would like to move banks, but 60% are unable to because of existing overdraft or loan commitments.
Even though some 91% of respondents use online banking, most visit a bank brand twice a week, where 80% have seen a decline in the level of service, with a reduction in customer facing staff being the greatest complaint.
Irish banks charge between .45c to €3 per €100 lodged in cash, and RGDATA members say that they cannot negotiate better rates.
Furthermore, increased bank charges on lodgments have negatively impacted the capacity of 34% of the those surveyed to invest in their businesses.
Director General of RGDATA, Tara Buckley says that the survey shows that for many retailers, the banking sector is still ‘effectively closed for business’ and doesn’t offer competitive choice or the proper level of service.
“It is clear from this survey that retailers, who are at the core of the SME service sector and are significant employers nationally, feel that they have been abandoned by the banking sector,” Buckley explains.
She adds, “The high charges and poor service from the banks needs to be challenged given the absence of competition in the market. This is an area where the Government could usefully step in to address the imbalance involved.”
Buckley also says the Government should look at ways to unlock competition and choice in the banking and financial services sector, and that the Central Banks needs to tackle areas where inadequate competition leads to high bank fees, low levels of switching and poor service.
“There is an obligation on the Government and the regulatory authorities to ensure that an absence of competition in such an important area of the economy does not damage local businesses that have real potential to contribute positively to economic recovery,” Buckley concludes.
RGDATA says it will present the survey results to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and the Minister for Finance to secure an appropriate Government response to the issues it raises.
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.