Ulster Bank customers left searching for answers

The ongoing crisis at Ulster Bank has led to growing confusion amongst many of its customers this week, as the under fire institution works to address backlog difficulties.

The ongoing crisis at Ulster Bank has led to growing confusion amongst many of its customers this week, as the under fire institution works to address backlog difficulties.

Many of those questioned by the Leader as they walked away from its Longford town branch on Monday afternoon declined to comment as the fallout entered its sixth day.

One of the few who did stop to pass judgement was Lorraine McKee. She said the problems bank officials were having in processing transactions had prevented her from carrying out her usual business online.

“I can’t do anything at the moment,” she said frankly. “Friday I had to come in and queue physically as well.”

Rather than hit out at the bank, Ms McKee sympathised with many of the bank’s frontline staff.

“The girls on the desk don’t honestly know, we are just hoping it is resolved by the end of the week. They (staff) are just waiting like we are. Everyone is very calm, it’s not their fault so there is no point getting frustrated with people at the desk,” she added.

Others, depending on their own personal circumstances gave differing views. One man, who asked for his name not to be published remarked: “If it is only a once off then it’s not so bad. It would be a different story if it was ongoing or happened again.”

Another woman meanwhile complained of how the disruption had inconvenienced her daily routine. “We had to come up here three times this week. We couldn’t get any money or nothing,” she snapped.

To try and address the problem, opening hours were extended at three branches across Co Longford on Monday evening (Longford town, Edgeworthstown and Granard) eight in Co Cavan (including Arva and Killeshandra), two in Westmeath (Castlepollard and Athlone) and one in Co Leitrim.

Its expected a full review will be carried out by parent company Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) over the coming days.

A spokeswoman put the setback down to an “IT issue”, dismissing speculation of a potential security breach when contacted by the Leader on Monday.

“The reality is that this is a group issue. RBS and Natwest are under the same IT platform. It is a major inconvenience and we are holding are hands up to that,” she said.

No definitive date has been set aside by the bank as to when systems will return to fully functioning working order, though it is hoped the problem will be resolved by the end of the week.