Around one in eight remaining current account customers of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland have yet to open an account with another provider ahead of the impending departure of the two banks from the market here.

The finding was contained in research conducted on behalf of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) which included a nationally representative survey of 1,000 people carried out by Amárach Research here in November and again in December.

The study found that, by December, 68% of remaining customers had either opened a new account or were planning to use an existing account in another institution.

17% said they planned to close their accounts - or let the bank shut it - without replacing it. This likely applies to savings accounts mainly.

The study also pointed to a significant decrease in activity levels in accounts held by existing customers of the two banks between November and December.

37% said their accounts in the departing banks were receiving or making no payments in December - up from 24% in November.

Only 12% of respondents were using their KBC or Ulster Bank account to receive social welfare income payments in December - down from 24% a month earlier.

However, around a quarter still had a mortgage direct debit coming out of the account in December, down from 30% in November.

"The findings from today's survey clearly demonstrate the huge amount of progress that has been made by the industry in the migration of hundreds of thousands of customer accounts, with the majority of impacted customers reporting that they have either completed the move to a new provider or that they are well into the process," Brian Hayes, CEO of the BPFI said.

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He acknowledged that substantial work remained to get a cohort of customers to take action.

"This was always going to be a marathon rather than a sprint," Mr Hayes told Morning Ireland.

"In 2022, in excess of 580,000 new current accounts were opened by Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB and that doesn't include current account offerings from Credit Unions, An Post and other providers. There is significant momentum but we have to keep going."

He said he was confident that the number of customers stalling on taking action could be reduced further.

"Significant customer outreach to these customers has been underway for some time by the exiting banks and today we are strongly urging all customers who need to open a new account to do so as soon as possible by engaging with a new provider to establish new banking arrangements," Mr Hayes added.

A study conducted by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in October found that 60% of customers who had switched their accounts from Ulster Bank or KBC Bank to a new service provider experienced difficulties with the process.

The Governor of the Central Bank Gabriel Makhlouf said at the time that some of the experiences of individuals trying to leave the exiting banks and establish a relationship with a new provider left 'something to be desired'.

He said he believed more needed to be done by everyone involved in the process.

Brian Hayes said all the stakeholders across the industry had worked very hard in getting information out to account holders in the departing banks.

"We're very conscious that this is an inconvenience for Ulster Bank and KBC customers. We've never gone through this kind of migration before in terms of the number of accounts involved," he explained.

Information on moving accounts in available on the BPFI's site movingaccount.ie and through the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CPCC) at www.cpcc.ie.