ULSTER BANK has admitted that customers affected by the unprecedented disruption to payments services may not see their balances fully restored until the end of the week.
The bank last night said it had staff working “around the clock” to process the “unprecedented” backlog of payments in and out of customers’ accounts, some of them dating back to last Wednesday, which have not yet been processed.
Though the technical issue which caused the original glitch last week has now been identified, the bank said it had encountered “a significant number of minor issues which require manual intervention” in order to work through the backlog.
These issues had delayed the process of working through three days’ worth of unprocessed payments – and given the volume of new payments which could arise in the coming days, the bank now says it will be “towards the end of this week” before its operations return to real-time.
Around 80 branches around the country are offering extended opening hours today, between 8am and 6pm, in order to facilitate customers who need staff assistance in accessing any cash. A help desk is also open until 10pm at 1800 205 100.
A number of branches took the unprecedented step of offering Sunday opening hours yesterday in a bid to assist customers who were unable to gain access to payments.
The bank has also warned that access to its ATM services and internet banking may be interrupted during the disruption, while the bank’s SMS services have been turned off in order to avoid confusion about customers’ bank balances.
Any customer who incurs extra charges or penalties as a result of the interruptions will be fully refunded in due course, the bank said, saying customers who made withdrawals they were not otherwise entitled to could re-lodge the money without incurring any penalty. Credit ratings should also escape any adverse impact.
Any customer whose salary or welfare payments have been delayed is advised to bring a payslip or welfare documentation to the bank, who may then be able to help them gain access to their funds.
Customers of other banks whose salary or welfare payments have been affected by the Ulster Bank difficulties are advised to contact their own banks in the first instance to seek advice on what options are available to them.
The chief executive of RBS, which owns both Ulster Bank and NatWest, yesterday issued a public apology for the major technical problems – which have struck its operations on either side of the Irish Sea – and said the bank had let down its customers.