Ulster Bank to halt Saturday openings and to prioritise elderly and infirm
Bank also providing online form to speed up process for those needing mortgage breaks
Ulster Bank also said it was monitoring fraud attempts in order to protect customers
Ulster Bank is to temporarily close 10 of its advice centres in Dublin and Cork and will cease opening on Saturdays at its 20 branches across the Republic in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
In addition, the bank said it would prioritise early opening hours for elderly or vulnerable customers and their carers. It is also providing a dedicated phone line for such customers, as well as a separate one solely for healthcare and emergency workers.
Other measures introduced by the bank, which begin on Friday, are the cancellation of its mobile bank-on-wheels service and the introduction of an online form for customers seeking a mortgage payment break to speed up the process.
The new measures come as Banking & Payments Federation Ireland said the roll-out of the increased contactless payment limit from €30 to €50 should be in place across all retail outlets by April 1st.
“We encourage our customers to use our online and app services to do your day-to-day banking. If you need to use a branch, for your own safety as well as the safety of your community and those who work in the branch, please check to see if you could carry out the transaction online or via the app,” said managing director of personal banking Ciarán Coyle.
“We know there are some delays on some of our telephone lines,” he added. “We are doing everything we can to help customers, but at this time we ask customers to keep our telephone lines free for those in difficulty who need our urgent help.”
Ulster Bank also said it was monitoring fraud attempts in order to protect customers.
“We urge all customers to be extremely cautious with any transactions or information requests right now. If anyone gets in touch with you unexpectedly and asks you for any information or to complete a transaction, please verify independently before doing anything with your money or your information,” said Mr Coyle.
Bank of Ireland earlier this week said it was temporarily closing 101 branches – almost 40 per cent – amid the ongoing spread of Covid-19.
A spokesman for AIB, which has more than 200 branches, said on Monday the group was “doing everything in our power to keep our branch network open and will respond to the evolving situation”.
Bank of Ireland on Wednesday announced a new service designed to help customers self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic – including older customers and those in vulnerable situations – to access cash for groceries, newspapers and other day-to-day expenses.
Customers who are already self-isolating – or who may need to in the coming weeks and months – can nominate another person to make in-branch cash withdrawals and lodgments on their behalf. The new facility will have built-in safeguards such as limits on withdrawals and daily monitoring by the bank’s vulnerable customer unit.
Those wishing to avail of the “cocooning” service need to fill in an online form available on the Bank of Ireland website.