Future still looking bleak for Ulster Bank customers

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ULSTER Bank was still unable to say this week when the IT crisis which has engulfed its group will be resolved.

Thousands of Magherafelt and Cookstown customers have been left without funds since the computer meltdown took hold almost two weeks ago.

Many have missed mortgage payments, direct debits and have been unable to be paid by their employers.

It all started on June 19th when the regional bank, part of the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, which incorporates Nat West, suffered an electronic glitch which left banking customers across the UK and Republic of Ireland unable to access their accounts.

Although most savers in the UK mainland were back online by Monday, Ulster Bank savers still have no definite end in sight, as many get ready to go on summer holiday.

MAIL reader Sandra Hilman, described how she has been affected by the crisis.

Writing on the Mid-Ulster Mail’s Facebook page she said: “I have had no tax credit money paid into my account this morning and I am unable to transfer money between accounts either! You would think that this type of thing would never happen to the Ulster Bank.”

Mid-Ulster Mail Facebook fan Dean Greer said he is considering moving bank after he was left short of cash for essential bills.

He said: “Got no money and bills need paying, I think I may move my funds else where.”

Speaking in Parliament Buildings, Stormont this week Mid-Ulster MLA ian McCrea said he has been inundated with local people who are facing extreme hardship by the problems caused by Ulster Bank.

He welcomed party colleague Finance Minister Sammy Wilson’s intervention yesterday when he met with Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of the RBS Group, in Belfast.

“I have had countless constituents contact my constituency offices detailing the real hardship caused by having no access to their own money,” said Mr McCrea.

“I welcome the opportunity taken by my party colleague, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson MP MLA to discuss the matter in detail with the Chairman of RBS and bring directly to his attention the human impact this is having upon businesses and individuals across Northern Ireland.

He continued: “Over the past few weeks there have been many assurances given about when this problem will be fixed and each time it has come and gone. It is important that Ulster Bank stop giving false promises and give a definite date and get on with the job of ensuring their customers can get access to their own money.”

The Mid-Ulster Assemblyman also emphasised that the crisis was not the fault of local banks but those staff were “in the firing line”.

“I can understand the pressure they must be under because of this fault however to the high rollers in the Ulster Bank and RBS, customers need urgent results and in the aftermath of this crisis I trust that Ulster Bank will make good on their word that no one will be out of pocket.”

First Minister Peter Robinson intervened yesterday to say he found the delays in resolving the Northern Ireland aspect of the crisis “inexplicable”.

An Ulster Bank spokeswoman said: “We target that customers should see their balances updating during the coming week.

“However, normal service will take some further time as our experience from dealing with the same issues in the UK suggests that there may be bumps along the road.

“We will do everything we can to manage the continued inconvenience this may cause to our customers.”