SOME local Ulster Bank customers were forced to budget even more than usual at the weekend after a massive system error meant their balances weren’t updated for up to five days.
One local mother explained her shock when she attempted to check her balance online but was told the money she expected to have been lodged in the account was not there.
“I tried to check my balance on line as I knew there was money going into my account but it has not been keyed on,” the legal secretary told the Leader.
“I then tried a cash machine but it was the same. When I went to the branch in Banbridge I was told they could not give me a balance on my account because they could not get into their computer system - no-one at any branch could.”
The local woman, who did not wish to be named, said the money is paid into the account every four weeks by direct debit and she had been depending on the cash for a weekend holiday with her daughter.
“I had financial commitments that needed paying that day but couldn’t access my money which I know was due into my account. I was luckily able to borrow money from a family member for the weekend, but what if I hadn’t been so fortunate?
“I’ve been a customer of Ulster Bank for many years and have never had any problems of this scale - it is just totally unacceptable for this to happen.”
A spokesperson from the Bank said the bank aimed to have the problem, which began last Wednesday, fixed by yesterday.
“Due to a systems issue, Ulster Bank experienced delays in updating customer balances and automated payments. We appreciate that this had a significant impact on many of our customers and customers of other banks and we again apologise unreservedly for this.
“Customers who have incurred fees or charges as a result of this issue will be fully refunded in due course.
“We will continue to update our website with information for our customers. For further information please log on to www.ulsterbank.co.uk.”
The bank said 80 branches remained open late on Friday to try to resolve the problem.
The Social Security Agency advised benefit customers who experienced problems with their Ulster Bank account to go directly to their local Ulster Bank branch where funds should be available to them, subject to a limit.
A spokesperson said: “Benefit customers only need to bring ID with them when visiting their local Ulster Bank branch. They do not need a proof of benefit payment from their local Social Security Office and staff at the Ulster Bank will not require this information to make a payment over the counter.”
For more information go to: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/newsroom.