PERMANENT TSB TO SCARP REGULAR CHARGES - From next Monday, moving your current account from one bank to another should be a lot easier, thanks to a switching code signed up to by all the country's financial institutions.

This is an initiative being taken by the Irish Bankers' Federation. But in advance of the new code's being put in place, Permanent TSB has announced its to abolish regular bank charges on its current accounts.

Permanent TSB chief executive Brian McConnell says there will be no regular or transaction charges - such as maintenance, direct debit and standing order charges - though there will still be charges for 'irregular' transactions such as for having cheques returned unpaid.

An IFSRA survey showed that consumers were paying around €100 a year in current account charges. Mr McConnell said his bank's move was a strategic decision taken in an attempt to expand its share of the current account market. But he said this was not a case of 'retaliating first' in advance of NIB's takeover by Danske Bank.

Pat Farrell, chief executive of the Irish Bankers Federation, said customers who wanted to change bank account would be able to do so smoothly from next Monday. He said all the institutions had signed up to the initiative and would be doing most of the work for the customer.

He said the IBF was dealing with a perception that it was difficult to switch bank accounts, but, he said 'perception is reality'. Asked if it would be a good thing if all banks scrapped transaction charges, Mr Farrell said the market had to be allowed to do its work.


VODAFONE IRISH REVENUE HIGHER - Figures from Vodafone this morning show the company made an average of €602 from each Irish customer during 2004, compared with €303 in Germany and €450 in the UK.