Ulster Bank declines Oireachtas committee invite on accounts issue

Bank working with Central Bank to find root cause of temporary disappearance of money

Ulster Bank last week blamed “human error” for the missing money problem

Ulster Bank last week blamed “human error” for the missing money problem

 

Ulster Bank executives have declined an invite to appear before the Oireachtas finance committee to explain the circumstances behind the temporary disappearance of money, including monthly salaries, from customers’ accounts late last month.

“We are working closely with our regulator, the Central Bank of Ireland, to fully investigate the root cause and define the necessary steps to prevent a reoccurrence in the future,” the bank said in a letter to the committee.

“The review will be undertaken as expeditiously as possible and until completed, we will not be in a position to provide any further update. As a result, we respectfully request that we provide you with an update during our next scheduled appearance on 12th of July 2018, rather than appearing before the committee on 3rd May.”

Human error

On Tuesday of last week, Ulster Bank blamed “human error” for the problem, as a “payment file” had not been processed the previous night, which meant that some transactions applied to customers over the previous four days were temporarily not showing. Ulster Bank’s parent, Royal Bank of Scotland, has spent billions of pounds in recent years seeking to upgrade the group’s systems after IT failures in the summer of 2012 affected customers in the UK and Ireland. The Central Bank fined Ulster Bank €3.5 million in 2014 in relation to the issue.

Meanwhile, Ulster Bank said in the letter that it has identified 17 small business customers who are eligible for a refund of complex fees paid to the bank’s former restructuring unit, GRG, between 2008 and 2013. It added that it has received 57 additional complaints that are still being assessed.

Complaints

The figure of acknowledged impacted customers is down from 19 that Ulster Bank told the committee late last year that it had identified.

“The number of customers who have made complaints to Ulster Bank’s GRG complaints process is exceptionally low and you would have to question whether there is even awareness among former SME Ulster Bank customers of the existence of this complaints process,” said Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath TD.