Central Bank of Ireland and Retail Banks

In response to the crisis The Central Bank, working together with other European Supervisory Authorities, has taken a number of actions to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the economy and to ensure that the financial system is better able to support households and businesses in this difficult time:
  • Together with the European Central Bank (ECB), we have taken actions to ensure that the economic shock will be no longer and no deeper than it needs to be.
  • The Central Bank has complemented these actions by releasing the Countercyclical Capital Buffer from 1% to 0%.
  • Similarly, the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism, of which the Central Bank is part, has announced that banks can temporarily use some of the supervisory capital buffers, which will mean they are better placed to continue to serve the economy, households and businesses at this time.
  • The Central Bank has been clear that it expects banks to use the positive effects of these measures solely in support of the economy and not for dividend distributions – a message that was reinforced by the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism, with its request that banks do not pay dividends or buy back shares during this period.
  • The Central Bank has also clearly set out our expectations for financial services firms, particularly in the insurance and banking sector, that they should continue to ensure consumer protections continue to apply and that customers are treated fairly with individual circumstances taken into account.
The Central Bank has also launched a COVID-19 hub providing information, guidance and policy decisions from both the Central Bank and European authorities for consumers, businesses and regulated firms, including:
  • Frequently asked questions for SME’s, consumers and regulated firms;
  • A general FAQ’s on COVID-19 on the Central Bank’s response, monetary policy response and other actions taken;
  • Statements from other European Supervisory Authorities; and
  • Links to information and resources from other relevant agencies
Other useful links:  
Retail Banks
The CEOs of Ireland’s five retail banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC, Permanent tsb and Ulster Bank), along with their representative body Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), met with the Minister for Finance,  Paschal Donohoe TD, and set out a joint-plan to support the thousands of businesses and employees across Ireland impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The five retail banks are introducing measures to help businesses and personal customers whose personal and business circumstances have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. The banks are also working collaboratively to ensure that continuity of service plans are in place, that critical functions can continue, and that staff remain available to continue to service customers at this time. The banking and payments sector is fully committed to working together and collaboratively to ensure provision of branch and payment services during this challenging period.

The measures include:
  • Implement a payment break up to three months for business and personal customers affected by Covid-19, to be followed by ongoing reviews depending on the scale and extent of the situation. Customers wishing to avail of a payment break should contact their respective bank.
  • The banks agree there is a need for a simplified application process to make it as easy as possible for businesses and personal customers impacted by Covid-19 to receive support from their banks.  We are working with all member banks to achieve this.
  • The banks want to ensure that any Covid-19 application for a payment break and further reviews will not adversely impact the customer’s credit record, and the banks reporting of these facilities. Banks want to avoid this and are meeting with the Central Bank of Ireland to urgently achieve a solution in this regard.
  • Banks will also defer court proceedings for three months.
  • The banking system stands ready to provide working capital support.
  • We have had initial discussions with Credit Servicing Firms and with those non-bank lenders who provide mortgages. Both the Credit Servicing Firms and non-bank lenders have issues which we need to address with the Central Bank of Ireland, but both are committed to working with the Government and industry to provide the flexibility that people need right now.
Useful links: