Ulster Bank backlog until end of week

Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 01:00

A BACKLOG in payments affecting more than 100,000 Ulster Bank customers will not be resolved until the end of the week, the bank has said.

It said last night that clearing the build-up of interrupted transactions was “taking significantly longer than expected” and, as a result, customer accounts would not be fully operational today.

While customers affected to date have mainly been those paid weekly or making one-off transactions, monthly salaries are due to be paid this week.

Ulster Bank chief executive Jim Brown held a conference call last night with senior executives at other Irish lenders to update them.

The bank processed more than 110,000 transactions with a value of €500 million over the weekend, and a spokeswoman said most payments involving customers from other banks had now been processed.

Ulster Bank opened branches over the weekend to deal with customer inquiries and received almost 9,000 customer telephone calls, while 11,100 people called into its branches. Eighty branches will remain open until 6pm today to deal with customer queries.

She said customers could access cash through the bank’s ATM network and by bringing their account details and ID with them to a branch.

A spokeswoman said the bank expected it would take until the end of the week to clear the backlog. She was unable to give a precise estimate for the number of customers affected but said it was “well over 100,000”.

“We have encountered a significant number of minor issues which require manual intervention. This has delayed us being able to move forward as quickly as we would have liked, to automatically process payments from subsequent days,” she said.

The bank has also experienced service interruptions to about 5 per cent of its ATMs and some online services.

The bank last night described the problems as an “unacceptable inconvenience” and said all customers subject to “bank charges as a result of this issue will be refunded”.

Today is the seventh day of disruption.

The bank said the original technical problem was caused by a software upgrade to the payment processing system which was corrupted.

This problem has been fixed and staff are working through unprocessed transactions.

Ulster Bank said it has been in regular contact with the Central Bank, the Financial Regulator and other stakeholders.

In a statement the Central Bank said Ulster Bank would work with the Irish Credit Bureau to ensure customer credit ratings were not impacted. Ulster Bank’s helpline number is 1800 205100.