Thousands of consumers face pay day misery as the Ulster Bank crisis shows no sign of ending.
Workers who are paid monthly were due to receive their wages today, but the bank has admitted that ongoing computer problems mean many will not receive their cash.
The Belfast Telegraph can also reveal that the number of social security claimants hit by the debacle has now soared to 110,000.
The bank is also coming under growing pressure to open all its local branches this weekend to help clear the backlog.
Problems began last Tuesday after a computer glitch led to direct debits not going in or out of accounts and customers not able to view transactions online.
But worried consumers have expressed renewed concerns over the protracted systems failure.
It is day 10 of banking chaos for Ulster Bank customers in Northern Ireland, although it is almost business as usual at sister companies RBS and NatWest, who were also initially hit by the fiasco.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Ulster Bank chief executive Jim Brown conceded that some people will not see the money credited to their account today. He said that the focus was on making “customers have access to their money, payroll and welfare payments”.
“In terms of salary and welfare payments, if customers come in to the branch with their payslip, we can pay them while we work through the backlog,” he added.
Mr Brown said that it would be “early next week” before the banking system is fully operational.
For the first time ever, the bank opened eight of its branches in Northern Ireland from 10am until 1pm last Sunday in order to help customers whose accounts had stopped working.
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said that a substantial number of branches should open late this weekend.
“They have got to stay open until 8pm or 9pm to allow people who are working to get in, if that’s what is required to deal with the situation,” Mr Wilson said.
“It’s also important for them to have a sufficient part of their network open so that people don’t have to travel miles.
“Otherwise, some people could find themselves in the situation where they can’t get money out to buy the petrol to travel the 20 miles to the nearest Ulster Bank.”
Chief executive of the Consumer Council Antoinette McKeown called for Ulster Bank to open its doors again this weekend.
“The Consumer Council is now demanding that Ulster Bank commit to opening all branches on Saturday and Sunday to deal with the growing desperation of customers,” Ms McKeown said.
Last week the Social Security Agency said 27,000 vulnerable people on benefits were affected by the debacle — but that number has risen to 110,000.
“Since the Ulster Bank’s IT problems arose last week, senior officials at the Social Security Agency have been in continual contact with the highest level of management in the bank,” a spokeswoman said.
“Benefit customers experiencing problems accessing their accounts are asked to bring ID to their local branch in order to access their money.
“The Social Security Agency continues to pay all the benefits which are due to recipients across Northern Ireland to the Ulster Bank accurately and on time.”
Mr Irwin, whose children are aged 14, 11 and six, said he was running out of gas and electricity as well as food. He said: “This has really put a spanner in the works. I don’t even have enough money for this week’s shop.”
“The bank told me to take cash, but I’d like to be able to take a bank card as well, just in case.”