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Spanish entrant to banking is ‘good for consumers’

May 11th, 2024 7:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Spanish entrant to banking is ‘good for consumers’ Image
MEP Billy Kelleher says Bankinter can bring much-needed competition.

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THE entry of Spain’s Bankinter into the Irish market will bring welcome competition in the banking sector and in the mortgage market, an Ireland South MEP said.

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher was speaking after Bankinter announced it will enter the Irish banking market through Avant Money.

Mr Kelleher sits on the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee.

‘The present situation, where we have a small, closed high street banking market isn’t tenable in an economy that is as buoyant as Ireland’s. In reality, we only have two and a half banks – Bank of Ireland, AIB, and Permanent TSB. This is not good for the economy and most definitely not good for consumers,’ he said.

‘For a growing economy like ours, we need more competition in the banking sector. In terms of business lending, I am hearing of difficulties from owners and senior management. In terms of mortgages, the fact that we have a limited number of banks means there is no real competition when it comes to interest rates.

‘While Avant Money currently offers mortgages, I hope the entry of its parent company into the Irish market will enable additional services, possibly business banking, to be offered to Irish customers.’

Mr Kelleher said that the more banks offering credit in Ireland, the stronger the likelihood that interest rates will fall in line with, or even ahead of, any future European Central Bank rate changes.

‘This will be a relief to tens of thousands of homeowners with fixed term mortgages coming to an end later this year and in 2025. They are facing a cliff edge so anything which forces banks to lower their rates will be a lifesaver to them and their families.’

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