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My name is on the mortgage, but Bank of Ireland communicates only with my husband

Pricewatch: The bank says the first applicant is the point of contact. ‘In this day and age, it’s unthinkable,’ says Deirdre

Deirdre contacted us with a story she described as both annoying and sinister.

“My husband and I recently opened a Bank of Ireland Mortgage Saver account. Neither of us had any other account with Bank of Ireland,” she begins.

“Both of us needed to fill out all details, and during that process the bank contacted me both by text and by email to request further details, which I provided,” she says.

After the account was opened the couple came across “a few issues – some annoying, and one more sinister”.


Deirdre starts with the annoying ones.

“We’ve had almost no communication about this account and we have no paper confirmation of the account. All of the application documents were in the form of webforms, with the result that we don’t have copies of that paperwork either.

“My husband received a text with a BIC and IBAN, and a paper direct debit mandate with no account information on it (only account details of the [EBS] account that the money will be transferred from). This also had no amount on it, so when the amount that transferred was less than we had discussed we had no way of checking whether this was our mistake, or the bank’s. All of this is concerning but not immediately hugely problematic, although amending the amount transferred has been a hassle it would have been good to avoid, and we’re now concerned that accessing the money in the account when we need to may also be problematic.”

She says the “more sinister aspect of this situation” is that, once the account was confirmed, she stopped getting any communication, little as there has been, from the bank.

“As a joint account holder, I had expected to receive the same information as my husband, and to be included in the address when documents are posted. Instead, after most of an hour on hold, today I learned that Mortgage Saver accounts designate a primary account holder, and that person is the only one who receives any communication. My name is on the account, but I will not be receiving any info,” she writes.

“Thankfully, I’m in a situation where my husband lets me know when he receives information, but if I were not, this is effectively coercive control by the bank. There is no online banking option for this account, and I would have no access to phone banking as I needed the account number to verify my identity.”

She has made a formal complaint to the bank although that was not without problems as the sort code in the IBAN was rejected by the online form so she ended up needing to Google her local branch and put that sort code in to submit the complaint “which will obviously not match the account number. I made it clear that I would be escalating this complaint to the FSPO [Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman] if the bank did not amend its regulations, but in the meantime I have to wonder how many people are entirely at their partner’s mercy. In this day and age, it’s unthinkable that this could be a policy, and my husband (who works with databases) assures me that adding a second contact is not a technical impossibility.”

We got in touch with Bank of Ireland and received the following statement:

“Mortgage Saver applications can be done either online or via paper application. Once the application is complete, subsequent correspondence with customers is a mixture of digital and paper based.

“For joint accounts, the home address and email address of the first applicant is used as the point of contact – this is specified on the online application form, so the customer chooses who receives the correspondence. The terms & conditions also specify that correspondence will be sent to the first applicant.

“We will investigate the customer’s complaint thoroughly.”