Belfast Telegraph

Troubled Ulster Bank will open on Twelfth

By Claire McNeilly

Ulster Bank is to open 10 of its branches on the traditional public holiday of July 12 for the first time in Northern Ireland’s banking history.

The move comes after bosses came under fire for their handling of the frozen cash crisis that has now entered into a fourth week.

Opening hours, however, will be restricted from 10am until 1pm.

Tens of thousands of account holders suffered after a computer software upgrade went wrong on June 19 at parent company RBS.

Following the technical failure, which also affected NatWest and RBS, nearly 600,000 Ulster Bank clients could not access their accounts.

But while problems at the other two financial institutions were rectified quickly, difficulties persist for customers here, with many unable to get accurate statements about how much money they have.

Head of retail banking Stephen Cruise last night said that most problems at Ulster Bank would be resolved by its July 16 deadline.

Mr Cruise also said he could not put a figure on how many customers in Northern Ireland were still affected by the crisis.

In a statement, Ulster Bank said many customer accounts should be back to normal.

“The weekend has brought steady progress in the processing of automated payments and as a result, the majority of morning account balances for customers are now showing as they should on Monday, July 9,” it read.

“However, some items, such as cheques and manual lodgments, have yet to be processed, and therefore will not be reflected in account balances as yet. We expect this week will be the last of significant disruption for customers and services should begin to return to normal from Monday, July 16.”

Many customers have contacted the Belfast Telegraph to say they are still affected 22 days after the crisis began.

What now?

Ulster Bank opening hours:

Today: 42 branches open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, with extended opening to 7pm.

July 11: 42 branches open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, with extended opening to 5pm.

July 12: 10 branches open from 10am-1pm.

Customers can call Ulster Bank from 8am-10pm on 0800 231232.

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