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Ó Caoláin - Old boys network operates against interests of banks customers

21 August, 2003

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD has accused the Banks of operating an "old boys network" to maximise their "grossly bloated profits" against the interests of their customers. The Sinn Féin Deputy was responding to the report from the Director of Consumer Affairs.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: „Operating what can only be described as an old boy network the main banks have conspired to maximise their grossly bloated profits against the interests of bank customers.

"Before the summer break I successfully called on the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service to invite the main banks to appear before the Committee to answer concerns that myself and other political representatives along with consumer groups had. At the time AIB had recorded the highest ever profit for an Irish company which were in excess of €1,300 million. The main banks, including AIB and BOI had also refused to pass on a European Central Bankinterest rate cut while at the same time increasing banking fees, with credit card rates rising to an average of 16%. That is 7% higher than the European average.

"The answers given by a number of the banking representatives confirmed my belief, as I stated at the time. that the Irish people both as individual consumers and as a society and an economy are being grossly exploited by the banks and other financial institutions.

"It is time for the Minister for Finance to tackle the banks head-on to end their excessive profiteering at the expense of customers who are increasingly suffering from reduced services and increased fees."ENDS

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