Font Size



Menu Style


Retail Banks In Ireland

The Banking Business in Ireland

The banking industry in Ireland has changed substantially in the 5 years to the present date (Dec 2011).  All Irish banks have suffered catastrophic losses. One major bank has ceased trading.  Another bank has become state-controlled, while a third one has pulled out of the Irish market. Irish banks have suffered a major flight of deposits and as a result, their capability to lend has been severely compromised.  The continuity of banking services in Ireland has only been made possible by a massive bailout of certain banks by the state

The Annual Credit Institutions Register, produced each year, shows a very large number of institutions authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland to conduct banking business in Ireland – and indeed, Ireland is a major centre for international banking.  However, only 5 banks offer a full range of banking services, while a small number of others each provide a limited range of banking services in Ireland. These 5 banks are:-

This website will not maintain a constantly updated status report on the rapidly changing position of the industry, and substantial reviews are constantly being published.

The banking business in Ireland has its origins in the British model of banking, and the origins of most of today’s Irish banks pre-date Irish independence. Banking legislation is very similar to equivalent legislation in the UK. Indeed, the overall code of legislation in Ireland and UK are based upon common law - other European codes are based upon civil law. Banking standards (e.g. in relation to payment systems) are virtually identical to the UK equivalent. Other countries with similar models of banking are Canada, Australia and New Zealand - all of them former British colonies. In the context of Ireland's participation in the Eurozone, the banking business will progressively move to align some elements of its business with its Eurozone partners but will retain many of its traditional elements.

Prior to the present decade, the most significant events which shaped Irish banking occurred in the late 1950s and in the 1960s. Before that date there were 10 banks with high-street branches. Over that period, the modern version of Bank of Ireland was formed by the takeover by Bank of Ireland of the Hibernian(1958) and National (1966) banks. AIB was formed in 1966 by the amalgamation of the Munster & Leinster, Provincial, and Royal banks. Bank of Ireland and AIB together have dominated the Irish banking market since then.

Market Shares

A number of international commercial organisations produce regularly analyses of the Irish banking market by product and/or sector, and provide detailed market share information for each financial institution. Such surveys are copyright. among providers of such information are Datamonitor, Mintel and others.

There is no freely available source which provides market share information. In respect of retail banking services in Ireland, we estimate that AIB and Bank of Ireland each have about 30% market share of most account types (excl mortgages) and services. Ulster Bank's share is likely to exceed 10%. National Irish Bank is believed to be in the region of 10%, while permanent TSB is lower.