‘Untold misery’ of customers

UPPER Bann DUP MLA Stephen Moutray met with senior Ulster Bank officials to convey some of the “untold misery” experienced by customers in recent weeks.

Mr Moutray, who is a member of the NI Assembly DETI Committee challenged the bank’s Chief Executive during an evidence session of the Committee at Stormont.

Speaking after the meeting Stephen Moutray said, “This whole sorry saga which was not caused in any way by local counter staff has been allowed by senior management to drag on for far too long.

“The bank simply didn’t move quickly enough or in any adequate manner to bring the required additional resources to help bring about a resolutiton to this for customers. Communication from the Bank has been very poor and both personal and business customers have been left in a state of untold misery.

“There are still very real concerns about credit ratings for both personal and business customers.

“I have to say the DETI Committee was very far from impressed by the evidence presented to us at this meeting or by the performance bank officials.

“At one point I asked the bank’s Chief Executive if he would be forgoing his bonus this year and the answer I got was little more than deflection. I am glad that belatedly, after the evidence session the Chief Executive did eventually indicate that he would be forgoing his bonus. But that is an indication of the whole way in which this crisis has been managed from the outset.

“Instead of dealing with reasonable questions such as that we have had what have appeared to be pre-prepared statements that satisfy nobody.

“This crisis has been dealt with much more speedily across the rest of the UK and it is abundantly clear that whatever additional resources are required to bring an end to customer misery in Northern Ireland should be put in place without delay.

“The DETI Committee full expects officials to reappear before it in one month if this is not satisfactorily brought to a conclusion quickly.

“This crisis has not been caused by local counter staff who have worked extremely hard often with customers in a state of distress or agitation to do what they can to alleviate the situation. The bank now has a duty both to customers and to local staff to get its house in order.”