Financial firms and trade bodies are finding it harder to get in touch with senior officials in the Financial Regulator since Matthew Elderfield took office early this year, according to regulatory and legal sources.

Direct contact with top figures, such as Elderfield and his deputies, is being discouraged in favour of lobbying through formal channels of consultation, sources said.

"As soon as these people were appointed, industry bodies were immediately onto them," one source said. "The industry feels they can go straight to the top – they've been conditioned to believe this. But there shouldn't be an expectation they'll get a response."

Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan concluded in his recent report into the banking crisis that the regulator under former chief executive Pat Neary was too deferential to the firms it was meant to be regulating.

He said it failed to balance its dual mandate of financial stability and industry promotion.

The Central Bank Reform Bill eliminates this dual mandate, relieving the regulator of any role to market Irish financial services.

A spokeswoman said it was not accurate that officials are inaccessible. "We remain open to meeting to discuss regulatory matters with related parties as requested," she said.