Angry customers seek answers

Sat, Jun 23, 2012, 01:00

ULSTER BANK customers have expressed dissatisfaction at not being able to access wages, benefits and other funds this week.

More than 100,000 customers were affected after a technology glitch led to a two-day delay in processing lodgments.

Seán Kearns from Sligo was almost left without a way to get to work and back, when he discovered he could not withdraw money from a cash machine.

“It told me I had insufficient funds, as my wages were unable to come through. It costs me €100 to get to work for a tank of petrol as I work near Dublin, so it would be impossible for me to go home and get to work on Monday. Even if the bank did give me emergency funds of €100, I may as well not eat over the weekend as I need it to get to work. I am in a fortunate position, however, as my company has been very proactive and have paid my wages in cash this week. What annoys me the most is that only for the media I would not know there was a problem,” he said.

Over the past three days, 53,000 social welfare payments may have also been affected, according to a spokesman for the Department of Social Protection.

Amy Flynn from Tipperary found she was left without money for rent when her social welfare cheque was not processed.

“I get it every Wednesday and have to put it in the bank that day so that it clears in time to pay bills and rent on Friday.

“Since they couldn’t put the cheque in, my account has gone into minus figures because of direct debits and I’m hoping now that I won’t get charged for that.

“This also leaves me with very little money to live off, so it is a pain for me,” she said.

The backlog has also proved difficult for families.

Clare Mullins from Clare said neither she nor her husband had been paid this week. “My rent, car insurance and other bills go out the first week of the month and I am very concerned for these. I have two children and no money coming in, and a fridge that is almost cleared out,” she said.

Some companies are also experiencing difficulties.

Mark Kemzura, financial controller of Dublin-based company Woodland Global, said the company had been unable to access its accounts for days.

“I have not been able to check the balance, or transactions of any of our bank accounts for three working days. I do not know what customer payments have been received, nor what of our payments have debited.”

Banking glitch weekend opening

ULSTER BANK is opening a number of its branches this weekend to assist customers affected by the systems glitch.

Today 34 branches in the Republic and 26 in Northern Ireland will be open from 10am until 3pm.

Tomorrow, the bank will open 20 of its largest branches from 10am until 1pm .

Customers unable to access their funds using an ATM can do so at any open Ulster Bank branch this weekend but must bring photo identification and payments details such as a payslip. Recipients of benefit payments need to bring photo identification only.

A full list of branches open this weekend can be found at or by phoning 1850 424 365 between 8am and 10pm

The bank has said there will be limited functionality of the Anytime and Mobile Phone Banking services, and that these will continue to reflect a delay in customers’ balances.