Statement from Bank of Ireland in respect of two advertising issues

Friday 7 June – Two advertisements which Bank of Ireland produced in 2023, and which appeared in a mix of print, radio and in-branch advertising between 10 September and 24 November 2023, did not meet the standards of the Consumer Protection Code in relation to accuracy and clarity. Bank of Ireland sincerely apologises for this, and is taking steps to resolve this matter and ensure it does not happen again.

Print and in-branch advertising regarding lump sum savings

The first issue relates to an advertisement produced for print advertising and in-branch posters to encourage consumers with lump sums to open a deposit account. In the small print of this advertisement it was intended to reference the interest rate that applies after the end date of the Advantage Fixed Term Deposit Account because this account is a popular option for our lump sum savers. Instead, rate information for a different product – the Super Saver Account – was included in error.

The Advantage Fixed Term Deposit Account – into which customers can make one lump sum deposit – offered a 12 month interest rate of 2% at the time of the advertisement, rolling then to a Variable Call Rate of 0.1%. The Super Saver Account – which is a regular savings account with a maximum lodgement amount of €2,500 per month – offers a 12 month interest rate of 3%, rolling to 2% after 12 months.

The specific error was that this advertisement stated that after 12 months the interest rate would roll to 2%, but should instead have stated that the ‘roll-to’ rate – after the term deposit fixed term ends – is the Variable Call Rate (0.1%).

The rate offered for the 12 month fixed term period was correctly referenced in the advertisement and is unaffected by this error. All of the other information publicly available to consumers in relation to the Advantage Fixed Term Deposit Account was correct. This includes the information on the Bank of Ireland Group website, and the letters customers received about the product. In respect of these letters, each customer who opened an Advantage Fixed Term Deposit Account received a Customer Rate Sheet and full Terms & Conditions when they applied for the account and a Confirmation of Lodgement letter after the account was opened. These documents included correct product details.

Bank of Ireland is now writing to all customers who opened a lump sum savings account – both Advantage Fixed Term Deposit and Notice Accounts – between 10 September and 31 March 2024 to apologise for this error.

Radio advertising regarding saving more generally

The second issue relates to a radio advertisement. Between 11 September and 8 October 2023, Bank of Ireland ran a radio advertisement to encourage savings generally. While this advertising was not intended to promote a specific product, it did refer to terms and conditions for the Super Saver Account which offers a rate of 3% for 12 months rolling to 2%.

As Bank of Ireland offers a range of savings and deposit products this advertising was not clear and was potentially confusing, because consumers were not told that the rates mentioned were linked to one specific product – the Super Saver Account.

To make sure this does not happen again Bank of Ireland will ensure that if the terms and conditions of a specific product are referenced in future advertising it will be clear in the advertisement what product those terms and conditions relate to.

Bank of Ireland sincerely apologises for these errors. Accuracy and clarity in relation to all advertising is important for consumers, and also for the Bank. Consumers should be able to easily understand the terms and conditions of any products that they hold, and the issues in respect of these two advertisements are deeply regretted.

More information

If any customer has queries on this error they may call 0818 200 347 or 0818 365 254 (Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays, 9am to 5pm) where a dedicated team is on hand to support them.