Cash up for grabs as Ulster Bank seeks to lure other banks’ clients

ULSTER Bank has made a play for the significant portion of consumers expected to switch banks in the coming months by offering a cash incentive to join.

Yesterday, Ulster launched its ‘Big Switch’ campaign, which promises every new customer up to €2,000 if they switch their mortgage and current account business to the bank before the end of next month.

Potential customers don’t necessarily need to switch both accounts to avail of the deal.

The bank is offering €1,650 if people switch their mortgage business, another €150 if they also switch their current account and a bonus €200 if they switch both.

The switching culture among banking customers has grown over the past year and the rate at which people are switching is expected to double over the next two years.

Earlier this month National Irish Bank (NIB) said that it won around 20% of switching activity during 2007, a significant boost to the bank’s performance. NIBs chief executive, Andrew Healy also said that there are an estimated 500,000 mortgage holders in Ireland currently “paying too much elsewhere“.

For its part, Ulster Bank has done much to drive the switching culture here — being the first of the Irish-based banks to put the Irish Bankers Federation switcher code in place and the first to offer cash incentives to customers looking to move banks.

“No other bank in Ireland has done more to challenge inertia in Irish banking than Ulster Bank. This move is designed to encourage customers to closely examine the level of value they receive from their existing bank in relation to both their mortgage and current accounts,” said head of marketing, Patrick Farrell.

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