Personal Finances
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26th June 2012

Why must Ulster Bank customers endure another week of personal current account disruption, says Cons

The Consumer Council is questioning why Ulster Bank account holders in Northern Ireland will endure another week of disruption to their current accounts, yet services for account holders at sister bank, Nat West, are almost fully back to normal.

In particular, the Consumer Council asks why today, seven days into the banking crisis, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) – parent owner of Ulster Bank and Nat West - has said: “The full focus of our efforts will now be on delivering the same result for our Ulster Bank customers who continue to experience unacceptable delays to their accounts being updated."

Ulster Bank today issued a statement that banking services for Northern Ireland customers will not be fully operational until ‘the start of next week’.

Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said:  “It is simply unacceptable that seven days into this crisis, RBS is quoted as saying they will only now turn their full attention to solving the issue for Ulster Bank customers.  The Consumer Council wants to know why Ulster Bank customers are not getting the same priority from RBS as Nat West customers in Great Britain?  We are demanding a full explanation on behalf of consumers.”

The consumer organisation is very disappointed at the lack of clear and accurate information being provided to customers in Northern Ireland.

Continuing, Antoinette McKeown said:  “Consumers in Northern Ireland have been told by Ulster Bank that this issue would be resolved last Friday - then by Monday – and today we are being told it will ‘be the start of next week’.  The uncertainty and continued delay will add further distress to an already stressful situation as payday looms for many more consumers.  Ulster Bank needs to be open and transparent about why Ulster Bank customers are suffering the longest delay.”

If you are unhappy with service from your bank, you should complain directly to them in the first instance.  If you are not satisfied with their response you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).  The FOS helps settle individual disputes between banks and their customers and it is completely impartial and free.  Call 0800 0 234 567 or go to www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

ENDS

1.   Consumer Council media contact: Irene Overend, telephone, 028 9067 4816 or e-mail [email protected]

2.   The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.

3.   For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk