Ulster Bank customers could end up being without full banking facilities for a month, it has emerged.
More than two weeks after a computer problem paralysed services across parent group Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), the Belfast-based bank has admitted that while most delays should be rectified by next week, some customers may not have a normal service until July 16.
The banking group’s IT failure began on June 19 and affected millions of customers who could not access their wages or make payments. Services are now back up at RBS and NatWest, but, more than two weeks on, more than 100,000 customers at Ulster Bank are still having trouble getting to their money.
A statement on the Ulster Bank website this morning said: “We now expect that next week (commencing 9 July) will be the final week of any significant delays for Ulster Bank customers.
“We expect gradual, but significant and noticeable improvements throughout the remainder of this week and next.
“It is our expectation that by the week of the 16 July the vast majority of customers will return to a normal service.
“There may be some final reconciliations required to customers’ accounts. We will continue to provide updates daily on our progress.”
The bank added: “We apologise again to our customers and thank them for their patience.”
Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons yesterday that the Ulster Bank crisis is unacceptable and that “lessons must be learnt”.
“What happened isn’t acceptable. Clearly it’s an operation matter for the bank, but the Financial Services Authority has been monitoring this very closely,” he said.
Mr Cameron added that RBS said Ulster Bank customers would be reimbursed for charges or overdraft fees incurred as a result of the IT breakdown.
Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker said: “This is frankly a crisis, many families can’t pay their mortgage, their rent, get their groceries, buy food, or put petrol in their car and older people can’t get access to their pensions.”
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