Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank still working out how clients can claim out-of-pocket costs

By David Elliot

Four weeks after a technical problem left a backlog of tens of thousands of payments, Ulster Bank still can’t say how customers can claim for the disruption caused by its banking glitch.

While the bank said it would refund fees and charges applied by it and other banks as a result of the long-running IT problems, chief executive Jim Brown said it was still working out a process through which customers can claim for ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses.

“For customers wishing to make a claim for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred, we will launch a comprehensive process later this week so anyone impacted will fully understand how to progress any claims they may have as a result of this issue,” chief executive Jim Brown said.

He said the bank has still to figure out how to compensate customers for inconvenience caused by the interruption to day-to-day banking over the past month.

“We understand that this issue has caused significant and unacceptable disruption and we are introducing a range of measures to recognise the impact it has had on customers’ day-to-day banking needs,” he said. “We are currently consulting with regulators and consumer groups and will be in a position to communicate further details shortly.”

Ulster Bank has said normal service has been restored to the majority of its customers hit after computer problems effectively froze transactions last month.

A serious computer failure almost a month ago at the bank's parent company RBS caused chaos to many people's accounts.

The issue of ensuring credit ratings are not adversely impacted by the Ulster Bank IT glitch is also still to be finalised.

Mr Brown said the bank is working with credit ratings agencies to ensure “no customer’s credit rating is affected as a result of the incident”. But he couldn’t say whether Ulster Bank itself would check if its customers’ rating had been impacted or if it would be up to individuals to check with agencies, nor how long the window to claim would be open.

However, the chief executive said all but 2% of backlogged transactions are now up to date.

And as the dust begins to settle on an episode which has battered the bank’s 176-year-old reputation, Jim Brown, in an interview with The Belfast Telegraph, has said the problem is going to prove costly to rectify.

“It’s going to be tens of millions of pounds,” he said.

Mr Brown said an independent investigation at parent company RBS is ongoing into how the problem occurred and he believes this will restore trust in the bank.

What the bank says about...

  • Refunding fees & charges: We will fully refund all fees and charges incurred by Ulster Bank customers or customers of other banks as a result of this issue.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses: For customers wishing to make a claim for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred, we will launch a comprehensive process shortly.
  • Credit ratings: We are working with credit reference agencies to ensure that no customer's credit rating is affected.
  • Recognition of inconvenience caused: We understand that this issue has caused significant and unacceptable disruption and we are introducing a range of measures to recognise the impact it has had on customers’ day-to-day banking needs.

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