Online bank plans to expand

RABODIRECT says it is fully committed to the Irish market and plans to expand operations here.

The Dutch online bank is one of the first foreign- owned banks to state its commitment to the Irish market following the planned departure of Halifax. RaboDirect general manager Roel van Veggel said 2010 will be the year of drastic but necessary restructuring within the banking sector in Ireland.

“Once the storms around closures, consolidation, cost cutting and restructuring have died down, I firmly believe that there’s a responsibility on all banks to take a closer look at competitive practices here. We need to put the customer back at the heart of what we do and focus on what’s best for them,” he said.

He added that Irish customers are not helped by the limited numbers of Irish players in the market coupled with the confusion around some foreign owned players who have “unclear direction from their parent banks, who have issues of their own”.

“In addition, we’re still not free from the stubborn tendencies many banks practice when they continue to offer unsustainable loss-leading headline rates with lots of T&Cs (terms and conditions) and old-fashioned advertising tricks. Doesn’t exactly make for a bright future if we continue down this route,” he said.

He said RaboDirect still sees interesting opportunities in the retail banking sector.


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