Limerick solicitors call for client accounts to be exempted from new charges

Donal O'Regan

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Donal O'Regan

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donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Limerick solicitors call for client accounts to be exempted from new charges

Recently appointed President of Limerick Solicitors’ Bar Association, Derek Walsh | Picture: Brendan Gleeson

THE LIMERICK Solicitors’ Bar Association and the Law Society of Ireland are calling for solicitor client accounts to be exempt from proposed new charges, so-called negative interest, from two of the country’s leading banks.

The call comes as solicitors in Limerick, who are customers of AIB or Bank of Ireland, were notified of the banks’ intention to introduce a charge on all monies, including home mortgage loans, held in solicitor client accounts. President of Limerick Solicitors’ Bar Association, Derek Walsh, said they are deeply disappointed at “this latest attempt from the banks to increase profits by penalising consumers, particularly future homeowners who already face significant financial challenges”.

“The proposed new charges, so-called negative interest, on monies held in solicitor client accounts are unjust, over-charging and contrary to public policy and consumer protection.

“The banks have wrongly included solicitor client accounts in their general application of negative interest rates, which they maintain apply to savings accounts. Solicitor client accounts are not savings accounts; they are a necessary part of commercial and conveyancing transactions. Put simply, when a person is paying their borrowed money out to complete the property purchase they will have less money than when they received the loan. 

“A similar situation will exist for those who are selling and paying off a mortgage. As a direct result of this charge, they will need to have additional money to make up the difference,” explained Mr Walsh.

The Limerick Solicitors’ Bar Association and the Law Society of Ireland say,

“We are calling on AIB and Bank of Ireland to exempt solicitor client accounts from these new charges to reduce unnecessary financial pressures on consumers. If the banks decide to proceed as planned, every day consumers will lose out.”