In browsing the site itsyourmoney.ie today I noticed something interesting. First of all there is a section for ‘savings & deposit accounts’ then a separate one for ‘state savings schemes’ (note SSIA’s are long gone), but the ‘savings schemes‘ are all really just deposits! Check out their rates too! lol.
If you go to ‘compare costs and benefits’ on deposit accounts you get a list, but in with the banks who shows up? An Post, so they are either a ‘state plan’ or they are not? Indeed it seems both apply, they have their own section, and they are also in with the rest of the financial institutions.
If you go to compare products and click on a high street bank name, it takes you to a page where it shows the product details of whatever that bank has on offer, however, if you click on the name of a state owned entity such as An Post in the ‘state schemes’ area then you go directly to their site!
What’s the difference? Well, in one you get some product details and it’s up to you to make a comparison, in the other you are brought to the live site where you can potentially purchase a product. It may not seem like much, but to a company competing with An Post, being directed (by what is sold as an ‘independent’ site) to the competition and not to theirs is unfair, it would be different if this was the case for every bank, but it isn’t, it only works, from what we can see in the case of An Post, meaning they have an unfair advantage from a Government run agency.
An Post list in the regular deposit area as well as having their own separate section, this means they have two bites at the cherry, and they are the only financial institution that you can visit directly from within the general deposits area.
We would therefore suggest that the Regulator either remove the live link to An Post or alternatively let all of the banks get a link to their sales site where people can then purchase their products, the current practice is unfair, and lacking not only in consideration but also ethics in respect of it demonstrating selective promotion of state run organisations.