Ulster Bank compensation welcomed


Ulster Bank’s compensation package for customers affected by the meltdown of its IT systems seems to be “fair and reasonable”, Fianna Fáil has said.

The party’s spokesman on finance Michael McGrath called on the bank to refund fees, charges, interest and out of pocket expenses to customers “without any undue delay”.

The details of the package have been published on the bank’s website this morning.

Mr McGrath noted the failure had caused “enormous distress and inconvenience” for up to 600,000 customers in the Republic over a period of several weeks.

“Overall, the package of measures announced by the bank for its customers affected by the IT debacle seems to be fair and reasonable provided it is implemented efficiently and the bank doesn’t unnecessarily contest claims for out of pocket expenses,” Mr McGrath said.

“I expect the bank to be fair in its assessment of expense claims by customers and not to be petty and challenge the validity of every item being claimed.

“In essence, Ulster Bank’s restitution package needs to ensure that no personal or business customer is out of pocket or disadvantaged in any way as a result of this IT failure.”

Labour Party Senator Lorraine Higgins said the compensation scheme was “insulting and derisory”.

“The one-off payment of €25 to customers who had to go branch during the crisis does not adequately address the stress, inconvenience and hardship endured by them during this time.”

Ms Higgins said the bank was “once more failing to recognise the difference between restitution and compensation”.

“This compensation, including €120 for out of pocket expenses simply adds insult to the original injury. There is no acknowledgement whatsoever, financial or otherwise, of the shabby treatment of Ulster Bank’s customers here – they were effectively put at the end of the queue while the computer glitch was solved elsewhere first.”

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan said the compensation announcement was “too little, too late”.

The Fermanagh/South Tyrone MLA, who is deputy chair of the Assembly's enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee said: “While it is welcome that these details have finally been released, I can see no reason why such a simple scheme has taken so long to put in place.”

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association said there should be a flat compensation figure for all accounts.

"All Ulster Bank customers should also receive a free credit report to assist in the reassurance that their credit history has not been compromised, due to the recent 'cock-up’ by the bank," Isme said.

Chief executive Mark Fielding said: "There is a duty of care on the Ulster Bank to ensure that customers’ credit rating is unaffected by the bank’s mistakes. To assuage all SME customers’ fears, the bank should, as a matter of course, have credit reports issued to all their SME customers, without the need to request them.”

"With regard to the miserly compensation being offered, it will cost small business owners more than the compensation to make a claim, to include bus tickets, phone bills and travel receipts."