Chequebook delays at AIB bank causing problems for farmers

ICSA Beef chair John Cleary has said he is deeply concerned about AIB Bank’s inability to issue replacement chequebooks to their customers to due to a supply issue.

“This situation is not only inconvenient but poses a significant challenge for farmers across Ireland who heavily rely on cheques in their day-to-day business operations,” he said.

ICSA understands that AIB Bank is in the process of securing a new supplier for their chequebooks, and that it could take up to four weeks for the issue to be resolved.

“This was an easily foreseeable issue, and it is just not good enough that the bank has allowed the situation to deteriorate to this extent. ICSA is demanding answers about why there was no plan in place to prevent this from becoming a problem. Finding a company to print chequebooks is hardly rocket science and we want answers as to why preventative action was not taken sooner.

“Cheques play a crucial role in facilitating transactions within the farming sector where cash flow management and timely payments are essential for the viability of farming operations. This is particularly the case for farm-to-farm transactions when buying livestock or feed, and for paying agricultural contractors for silage and slurry jobs. The inability to obtain replacement chequebooks not only disrupts these essential transactions but also hampers farmers' ability to conduct business efficiently.

“Furthermore, it is simply not a solution to ask farmers to use alternative online methods as most farmers do not have debit or credit card machines on their farms, and getting electronic payments set up online is cumbersome to say the least. Even people who are very familiar with computerised payments find them far from user-friendly. Then there is also the issue of broadband reliability in many rural parts to contend with.”

Mr Cleary was also critical of the fact that AIB Bank has failed to inform its customers about the problem. “Failing to inform customers so they could at least plan for the weeks ahead is unacceptable.”

He said he was calling on AIB Bank to speed up their efforts to resolve this supply issue to ensure that farmers have access to the financial tools they need to operate their businesses effectively.

“Any ongoing delay will be viewed as yet another underhanded attempt at reducing traditional banking services in rural Ireland.”

A spokesperson for AIB has said the delivery of AIB cheque books to customers will recommence from 12th February and has apologised for any inconvenience caused to its customers.

"The delivery of AIB cheque books to our customers recommences from 12th February. For orders up to 1st February customers should receive their books towards the end of that week, with normal service resuming," the spokesperson said.

"Some customers may have experienced a temporary delay in the issuance of their cheque books after our previous cheque books supplier went into administration. We apologise to these customers for any inconvenience that was caused.

"In the meantime customers have been advised of alternative payment options available to them for example, online channels which offer various payment options, AIB Debit or Credit Cards and of course customers can also make payments in branch using our Paylink Euro products.

"Customers can contact our dedicated help line on 0818 303 034 for support with alternative methods of payment.”