Local customers say they will abandon bank

WITH the Ulster Bank crisis rolling into its fourth week local customers, including individuals and businesses, have said they will leave the bank as soon as they can.

The customers said they have been left bewildered by the debacle, and lost all faith in the bank’s ability to cope with the situation. Last week the bank announced July 16 as the date it aims to have the crisis sorted - which will bring it into its fifth week.

Customers told the Leader they have lost business, are still trying to figure out the state of their finances, and have felt frustrated at the way they have been treated by the bank.

Hayley Sanderson, who started a business - Sandy’s Cupcakes - earlier this year, said she has lost around £600 worth of business in the past three weeks after having to refuse new orders.

“I’ve been left in a situation where my suppliers can’t be paid,” the mother-of-two told the Leader. “While they have been understanding, a £100 limit has been introduced, which doesn’t go very far.

“I can get access some things but if someone comes to me with a big order I’m unable to get the things I need to carry it out. That is where I am losing most of my money.

“I am a new business and I am doing well but I’ll be pulling my money out of Ulster Bank as soon as I can after all this. I simply can’t afford to take the risk that this will happen again. And if suppliers see that I’m banking with Ulster Bank I’m afraid they’ll think the same thing.”

Another local man got in touch with the Leader to hit out after what he called a “brash” appraoch towards beleaguered customers by a security guard employed by the bank last week.

Sean Wilson’s wife visited the Banbridge branch to get information on her account when, he said, she saw other customers being interrupted by the man during their converstations with bank employees.

“He was very brash and rude I thought,” said Sean. “These customers were not being over-bearing, they just wanted to find out the information about their money. But he interrupted and I really thought his attitude left a lot to be desired.”

A spokeswoman for Ulster Bank said, “We very much appreciate the patience of customers. Staff are doing their best in very difficult circumstances, and have received a significant amount of praise from members of the public for their efforts. If a customer wishes to make a complaint about their experience in branch, they can do so through the branch manager.”

As of Sunday Ulster Bank said they had worked through the backlog up until July 5, and were continuing to make progress. For more information visit the customer service section at www.ulsterbank.co.uk.