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Ulster Bank: petition calls for free banking until 2013

A cross-party petition signed by almost 100 Oireachtas members was delivered to Ulster Bank today.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

ALMOST 100 MEMBERS of the Oireachtas have signed a petition calling on Ulster Bank to waive customers charges until the end of January next year.

The petition was delivered to Ulster Bank headquarters in Dublin by Senator Lorraine Higgins this afternoon. She told TheJournal.ie that she was met by one of the group’s officials before, once more, requesting a meeting with chief executive Jim Brown.

“I only started calling for signatures yesterday and already have almost 100,” she explained. “The bank should take this seriously as it is one of the first issues that has gained cross-party support across the Oireachtas.

“Customers need clarity on where they stand with Ulster Bank. Fancy public relation campaigns promising customer care is one thing – but the time has come for the bank to be upfront about what compensation they intend to offer customers,” she added in an earlier statement.

The Labour Senator said she hopes to hear from both Brown and the RBS chief Stephen Hester about her requests for meetings shortly.

Since the delay in payments began on 19 June, Higgins has argued that Ulster Bank should waive all customer charges as a gesture of goodwill. She raised the issue with Brown when he appeared before the Dáil finance committee last week but no commitment was given.

“He has been blatantly avoiding the questions,” according to Higgins.

This petition drafted on behalf of the thousands of people across Ireland suffering at the hands of this so called ‘glitch’, and supported by members of both sides of the house, should be an important wake up call to Ulster Bank – that in the event of a massive systems collapse, customers should be adequately protected.

Meanwhile, problems persist for Ulster Bank customers despite claims from the group that many customers are seeing an “improved position on their accounts today”.

The bank has said that this will be the final week of significant delays for customers and that there will continue to be noticeable improvements as the days pass.

By next week, “the vast majority of customers should return to a normal service”, the latest update reads.

Opening hours will continue to be extended throughout the rest of the week and over the weekend. Fifty-one branches will open daily to 7pm until Friday and 34 branches will offer services until 3pm on Saturday. Some locations will also open on Sunday from 10am to 1pm.

The problems began last month when an attempt to update the software systems of Ulster Bank and its parent bank Royal Bank of Scotland on 19 June resulted in the so-called ‘technical glitch’ occurring.

More: HSE staff still waiting on 21 June pay>

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