Ulster Bank says no one will be 'out of pocket'


ULSTER BANK said no customers would be left “out of pocket” by the technical problem that has affected thousands of accounts.

The bank does not expect “full services” to be restored until the beginning of next week. But it hopes the automated payments backlog, caused by the technical issue, would be cleared before the weekend. Ulster Bank had initially said the backlog should be taken care of by last Monday.

The bank’s managing director of branch banking, Jim Ryan, admitted, in a statement, “customers continue to experience unacceptable delays to their accounts being updated”.

“We remain grateful to them for their patience and we apologise unreservedly for the continued inconvenience. We can confirm no customer, including customers of other banks, will be out of pocket as a result of this issue.”

The technical problems have also affected Ulster Bank’s parent company Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and its subsidiary NatWest in Britain, which have some 15 million accounts between them.

Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King said: “Once the current difficulties are over, we need the Financial Services Authority to carry out a detailed investigation to find out what went wrong and, importantly, why it took so long to recover.”

In a statement last night, RBS announced it had cancelled its corporate hospitality at Wimbledon. “Under the circumstances, we felt it would be inappropriate to provide client hospitality at Wimbledon,” it said.

Asked about the level of overtime being offered to clear the backlog, a spokesman said Ulster Bank did not comment on staffing arrangements.

A spokesman for the Irish Bank Officials Association, which represents a large number of Ulster Bank staff, said workers had come to an agreement that overtime would be worked on a voluntary basis and that staff would be paid an appropriate rate for any extra work completed.

The Irish Payment Services Organisation yesterday advised affected customers to keep “a note and documentary proof of the impacts caused” by the problems, and said those who were not satisfied with the response could contact the Financial Services Ombudsman.

Labour Party Senator Lorraine Higgins said Ulster Bank should ensure the credit ratings of its customers were not adversely affected by the “fiasco”. An Ulster Bank spokesman said the bank would ensure this.

Ulster Bank said 80 of its branches would extend their opening hours until 7pm daily. Those who cannot visit a branch should call 1800 205100.