Farming organisations have joined the chorus of complaints over the lack of competition in Ireland's banking sector following Friday's announcement by KBC that it intends to exit the market in Ireland.
It follows a similar decision made by Ulster Bank in February.
Pat McCormack, President of the ICSMA said the question farmers, businesses and private individuals need to be answered is: "Why every new bank that comes into the Irish market seems to arrive at the same conclusion after a couple of years and then leaves."
“Foreign banks arrive in a blaze of publicity and a fanfare of advertising and marketing, win a decent share of business from Irish customers desperate for internationally competitive financing and loans, and then after a few years announce that they’re pulling out and selling their business back to one of the ‘Big Two’ that, ironically, their customers had left seeking better banking services and options," he said.
"What’s going on here and when are we going to see a serious examination as to why none of these foreign banks want to continue offering retail banking here?”
The ICSMA said Irish farming has relatively low debt, is generally fully collateralised, and is considered one of the most sustainable and technically advanced in the world.
"But we are still effectively confined to a choice between two banks. Our counterparts in the other EU Member States would have multiples of that. Our situation means higher charges, higher interest rates, more onerous loan conditions, less flexibility, all because there’s no competition."
The ICSMA called on the government to investigate why Ireland seems unable to attract new banks to our markets.