The Central Bank of Ireland has issued a statement to say it has received a number of complaints about two firms, "Irish Nationwide Bank" and "Elite Bank Group".

These firms are claiming to be based in the State and are offering banking business services.

It confirms that neither firm holds any authorisation or licence from the Central Bank.

It adds that they are not appropriately licensed in another EEA Member State as a credit institution, with authority to provide services in Ireland under a passporting arrangement.

It says it is a criminal offence to do so.

The Central Bank says it has no evidence that Irish Nationwide Bank and Elite Bank Group has attempted to target Irish consumers. The complaints were from people outside the state.

However, it stresses that Irish consumers should be aware that in the event of dealing with a firm that is unauthorised or unlicensed, a consumer will have no access to the Financial Services Ombudsman or to Statutory Compensation Schemes.

Consumers can check the regulatory status of firms at the Central Bank's registers at or by contacting the Central Bank on telephone (01) 224 4000.