Some questions on the AIB forex issue




While its not a critical event, and the sum isn't massive, its too early to come to your conclusion Brendan. Reading the newspapers today, the most telling point was the fact that the staff union IBOA is calling for an outside investigation, and Frank Connolly who is usually very informed is quoting inside sources who don't believe the figure.

IFRSA clearly don't the "mistake" as the key issue, instead they see the attempted cover up as far more serious. I agree. Its also telling that both Harney and Charlie Mc C are attacking AIB!

There may be more to this yet. The Sunday Trib ran on the bad selling to older customers, and the Sindo ran on illegal pricing for dollar to euro to dollar. I don't think you should be so dismissive and its about time one of the big
banks got a bloody nose.


False declarations to the regulator and/or illegally applying different charges to those authorised by the regulator as well as the possibility of a cover up once the "error" was identified are surely VERY SERIOUS matters regardless of the sums involved!


Re: Above

Apparently the regulator doesn't have the legal power to do anything about this.. Whats the point of IFSRA if they can't sort something that should be a straight forward example of breach of consumer rights(which IFSRA look after, right?) AIB should be fined, be made bring in & pay for independent forensic accountants to investigate & repay each individual person who suffered a loss.

Instead we'll have Mary Harney coming out and saying that if we feel the service provided is below standard we should show it with our feet and walk away from shoddy practices - but they don't penanilise the perpetrator. To me I believe the government has seen the effectiveness of Britian's Labour spin doctors & adopted the approach here without any substance to back it up. They believe window dressing can give them the gloss of doing something without having to really doing anything. As an individual all of us are being conned, only if you are part of a larger lobby group that they care about will you be heard.

I was at a do a couple of weeks ago & ended up talking up with a IFSRA employee(BB your name came up re BCP, & I suggested he to have a look at this site for opinions re IFSRA's performance) but while he was optimistic about what they could do they don't have the legislative power, appartently the half the legislation doesn't empower the Consumer Director to do anything because she isn't named in the enactments.
I think in Ireland today you have to look after yourself because nobody else(incl the govt) will.. Gloomy to me even as someone in my 20's but we are letting greed/degree of success dominate nowadays which can only be a downward spiral. I know we are only copying others (US, UK etc) but as a model it has to end in destruction..


I personally have no problem with the free market idea that the customer has to take responsibility for looking after himself to a large extent but I do have problems with (a) alleged breaches of the regulatory rules, alleged illegal (over)charging of customers, and suspected covering up of the issues once the come to light internally (b) the seeming inability of the regulator to deal decisively, or better still proactively, with clear cut cases of misleading/false advertising ( ) and (c) the seeming inability of the regulator to deal proactively or decisively with arguably less clear cut cases of alleged dodgy advertising (e.g. the (geared)tracker bonds advertising fiasco - although perhaps IFSRA are dealing with this behind the scenes and we can expect some action soon?). Where regulation is in place then it should be done properly. As long as institutions comply with the rules then there is no harm putting some onus on people to shop around and look out for themselves.




- what AIB actually charged was the same as some of the others;
- the rate they quoted to DoCA was wrong;
- the charge was on the receipts i.e. you got charged what they said they were charging.

Would it not be a good idea to give the dosh to Charity and save all the effort 'tracing' from unlinked FX machines to customers?

And when will Regulator simply start doing some 'transaction' sampling instead of rushing in as if it were an aiir disaster?

A bigger crock is the 'clearing' ,, saying it now.. watch the Regulator take 50 years to cop it..

Brendan Burgess

Re: Above

Hi Wizard

I have business accounts in AIB and Bank of Ireland. I buy around £5,000 worth of sterling a year. I would sometimes check the prices and AIB were always cheaper, so I bought my drafts from them,

I bought sterling yesterday and the receipt says

Sell draft 2273.5 sterling
rate = .6685
Eur 3400.90
comm. 4.44
This is what the "AIB Schedule of international transaction charges "says:

Draft issuance €4.44 per draft
There is no mention of 1/2% or 1%. It is and always was buildt into the exchange rate quoted. If I am happy with the .6685 rate, it doesn't really matter how it was calculated as long as it is cheaper than Bank of Ireland.

The only misleading thing is the word "comm." which should read "draft issuance".

It goes to show the nonsense of requiring bank charges to be approved by the ODCA. The 1/2% or 1% is regulated, but the actual rate charged is not. So AIB could have charged 1/2% and charged a different exchange rate.


XXXAnother PersonXXX


An interesting thing that's just occured to me. EBS has stopped accepting foreign cheques. Guess who they use to do the transaction?

Apparently AIB have started charging EBS too much for foreign cheque clearing. Hmmmm. It seems that the AIB's tallons can still mar my life even when I think I've stopped being a customer.

XXXAnother PersonXXX


From the 16th of May you won't be able to (at least in the Square, Tallaght)


Re: Above


Great posts with some excellent info.

Simply put, if your not happy with your bank ... then move to another one guys'n'gals .... it's called freedom of choice coupled with competition ;)



For clarification, the ODCA only became responsible for regulation of bank charges in May 1996.

Prior to that, the banks operated something akin to a "gentleman's agreement" with the Central Bank. The banks would ask the CB for approve specific increases in charges and the CB would nod demurely and say "oh go on then!". It was a bit like a child asking the teacher if the could go to the bathroom.

When ODCA assumed responsibity for regulation of bank charges, they were given a schedule of all charges that were approved AT THAT TIME. Had they been advised that the rate was 1% and not 0.5%, there wouldn't have been a problem. They compounded the difficulty in 1998 when they explicity assured the ODCA that the charges notified in 1996 were not being exceeded.

Their "sin" therefore is that they did not seek to address the problem when it became known. It was at this point that the dishonesty began. They clearly felt that if thousands of customers either hadn't noticed or couldn't be bothered to complain, it wasn't a serious issue.

Whoever made the decion to carry on without advising the regulator is the one at fault and he/she deserves to be fired for an act of gross misconduct (which I assume is provide for in the grirevance procedure of a company as large as AIB).

Those with responsibility for overseeing the work of this individual should also consider their position.

It might interest people to know that at the time it was responsible for the regulation of bank charges, the ODCA had a staff complement of just four people to regulate the charges of all the banks (retail and otherwise) in all of the country.

While I'm not sure what resources are currently available to IFSRA, I suspect they're better equipped (from both a resource and legislative perspective) to ensure an effective regulation. However, their inability to impose sanctions (as originally sought but successfully put to touch by the IBF) clearly compromises their ability to do so.