Pearse Doherty TD welcomes publication of terms of reference on review of retail banking but calls for proper engagement with stakeholders
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has welcomed the publication by the Department of Finance of the terms of reference for a review of retail banking, but has called for the Minister for Finance to ensure that any review properly engages with all stakeholders in the sector.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Sinn Féin, together with the Financial Services Union and others, have long called for the establishment of a Forum on the Future of Banking; which would provide all stakeholders with the opportunity to assess the current state of the Irish banking landscape, its challenges and prospects.
“I welcome the publication of the terms of reference of a review of the retail banking sector that will carried out by the Department of Finance.
“The banking sector has undergone seismic change in the past decade since the financial crash presided over by Fianna Fáil in government.
“Change has been rapid in the past several months, with the announced withdrawal of KBC and Ulster Bank from the market, together with extensive branch closures.
“Consumer protection issues continue to bedevil the sector with the digitalisation of services presenting its own challenges and opportunities.
“Meanwhile, the interest rates facing Irish consumers continue to be high by European standards.
“We must address these issues in an informed manner.
“The terms of reference are broad. Engagement too must be extensive and inclusive.
“While the Minister for Finance rejected my proposal to participate in a public banking forum, this proposal was accepted by the Central Bank.
“This hesitancy on the part of the Minister cannot be allowed to close down the opportunity for an inclusive and transparent process of engagement.
“A series of public roundtables should form part of this review.
“I look forward to engaging with the Minister and other stakeholders on the review as it moves forward – consumers and workers must be at its centre.”