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Sam Boal
The Banks

Ulster Bank to write to customers, giving them six months to close current and deposit accounts

It’s part of the NatWest-owned bank’s phased withdrawal from the market in the Republic of Ireland, announced in February 2021.

ULSTER BANK CUSTOMERS will begin receiving emails and letters from the lender over the coming weeks giving them six months’ notice to switch their current and deposit accounts to a new provider and close their existing accounts.

From 1 July, branches will also begin closing counters at 1pm to concentrate on helping customers switch providers, the lender said in a statement this afternoon. 

It’s part of the NatWest-owned bank’s phased withdrawal from the market in the Republic of Ireland, announced in February 2021.

Letters and emails will be sent out to the bank’s roughly one million personal banking customers “on a phased, rolling basis, to give them six months’ notice”, Ulster Bank said today.

Ulster Bank has dubbed the initiative ‘Choose-Move-Close’. 

After the initial communication, personal banking customers will receive follow-up prompts via text message, email, messages in the Ulster Bank app and letters.

In addition, the bank is making a number of changes to its branch services as it prepares to write to current and deposit account holders, giving them information about how they can switch their accounts to new providers.

Opening hours will remain the same at all Ulster Bank branches.

However, from 1 July, Ulster Bank will:

  • Close counters in all branches from 1pm except to facilitate face-to-face Choose-Move-Close assistance for customers;
  • Cease counter Foreign Exchange services except for foreign cheque lodgements;
  • No longer offer night safe services. 

The bank said from 29 April, it will also no longer offer mortgage “approval in principle” to existing customers.

From 10 June, Ulster Bank will close to new mortgage applications from existing customers altogether.

It means that from June, the only personal banking services available will be helping existing customers to switch rates and, “on an exceptional basis, emergency, temporary overdraft, or credit card limit increases”, according to the statement.

There will be no change to product availability for business banking customers.

“Other accounts e.g., personal loans and credit cards are not impacted at this time and Ulster Bank will write to these customers in the future when they need to take action,” the lender said.

In a statement, Ulster Bank Chief Executive Jane Howard said letters and emails will be sent to current and deposit account customers “on a rolling basis to ensure there is no one deadline for closures and to avoid any unnecessary bottlenecks”.

She added, “We know this will be a busy period ahead for customers and we will reach out to as many as possible in the coming weeks and months to ensure that they are aware of the changes and to offer them help and support.

“We encourage customers to consider the many different types of accounts and services on offer as they research their choice and the CCPC (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) website is very useful in exploring the switching process and the different types of accounts on offer.

“If any customers are unsure of their next steps or need to discuss their needs with us, they can contact us on 0818 210 260 (00 353 1 8047475 if calling from abroad, lines are open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week) or review our comprehensive customer FAQ on our website” 

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