Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin has welcomed the National Treasury Management Agency’s clarification on ‘Special Joint Savings Accounts’ operations with An Post.
Senator Mulherin said: “From 5th June 2016 An Post had mistakenly removed the option to alter savings bank accounts to operate under Special Joint Account status.
“As a result any account held in joint names required both parties to complete the withdrawal slip and both parties needed to be present to withdraw funds.
“The purpose of a Special Joint Account is to enable one account holder to withdraw funds if necessary when issues arise such as illness or incapacity which prevents one or other account holder from being able to present in person.
“In other words both are not required to attend at An Post office together to withdraw funds.
“Generally these type of difficulties arise when people are already under great stress and any difficulties accessing needed funds can be overwhelming.
“This was first brought to my attention by a retired man who was very ill and wanted to put his wife’s name on his An Post savings account so she could make withdrawals on his behalf as he was unable to do so, but was prevented by An Post’s misinterpretation of the NTMA rules.
“Obviously there is a strong need to ensure that the system is not abused and to ensure the safety of the customers who hold these types of accounts.
“Unfortunately it can tend to be elderly people who are vulnerable to such abuse and this can complicate matters.”
In a letter to Senator Mulherin, the NTMA committed to ensure clear instructions on the accessibility of the accounts were circulated. These instructions have now been implemented across all post offices.
Senator Mulherin said: “I welcome that the NTMA has clarified that Special Joint Account Status is in fact available to their customers and this ensures that such accounts operate securely and safely for customers.
“As this is an issue that may have affected a number of savings account customers I would urge anyone who requires single access to their An Post joint account due to their circumstances and have had difficulty in doing so previously to contact their local post office and seek clarification as to how their account may be changed to accommodate their needs.”