Slow response to Ulster Bank problems criticised
ULSTER BANK’S computer debacle will perhaps encourage financial institutions to “return to employing counter staff rather than relying on computers”, according to Minister of State Shane McEntee, who said in the Dáil that technology “has gone too far”.
“I always believed something like this would happen,” he said. “Banks no longer provide a personal service: everything has been computerised.”
The Minister was responding to the Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin finance spokesmen who raised the issue of the ongoing impact of the computer failure at the bank on 150,000 customers.
Pearse Doherty (SF) criticised the slow response of the Central Bank, financial regulation and Government in finding out how a “relatively minor software upgrade” led to such widespread disruption. He also asked what was to stop this happening at another bank.
Michael McGrath (FF) said the Central Bank was “asleep for the first few days of this crisis”.
He said the problem started last Tuesday “but there was no statement from the Central Bank until Sunday”. Calling for an investigation, he said customers’ credit standing should not be affected by the debacle.
Mr McEntee said the problem could happen at any bank. It was “crucial that the relevant bodies are brought before us to explain what went wrong”. If this were to happen again, “the whole country could be brought to a standstill”. It was “a warning, at great cost, to many people”.