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Kenny 'doesn't like' Bank of Ireland rate hike - but can't stop it

Enda Kenny regrets Bank of Ireland’s decision on credit card rates, but says the issue is one for the Financial Regulator.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has admitted he ‘doesn’t like’ Bank of Ireland’s decision to raise the interest rates on its credit cards just days before Christmas – but has told the Dáil it is not up to him to control the bank’s decisions.

Kenny told the Dáil this morning that the government was happy to give the Financial Regulator whatever powers he sought to control the interest rates of banks, but that such powers had not been sought.

“This is not a case of where the government can regulate the interest rates that are applicable on credit cards,” Kenny told Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams.

Adams had raised the issue of Bank of Ireland’s increases – which will see the annual interest rates on some cards increased by up to 4 per cent – during Leaders’ Questions this morning.

The Sinn Féin president had asked whether Kenny or the government had been in contact with the bank about the increases, and questioned the role of the public interest directors in those banks.

“I don’t like this,” Kenny said in response, referring to the increase, adding that the government was in “constant contact with the [Financial] Regulator” to ensure that the regulator was happy with the facilities, authority and power provided to it under law.

“This is very difficult for many people who have run up huge bills on credit cards,” Kenny admitted, though adding that the government did “want it [Bank of Ireland] to be out there in the market.

“We’re prepared to act if the Regulator requires further facilities, or what he might consider as being appropriate powers to himself.”

Read: Bank of Ireland increases credit card interest by up to 4 per cent

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Gavan Reilly

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