Ulster Bank fiasco to continue until at least end of week

The fiasco at Ulster Bank will continue until at least the end of this week, with the beleaguered institution admitting it is having difficulties clearing the “unprecedented” backlog.

Despite taking the drastic step of opening 20 branches across the country yesterday and staff working around the clock, Ulster Bank will miss its self-imposed deadline of today for the restoration of services.

The bank claimed over the weekend that it had fixed the original technical issue, but admitted it is having difficulties clearing the backlog in unprocessed transactions. However, in a statement last night, a spokeswoman admitted the problems are likely to continue until towards the end of this week.

“The scale of the backlog is unprecedented and across the [Royal Bank of Scotland] group we are working around the clock to get this resolved. However, in Ulster Bank’s case, we have encountered a significant number of minor issues which require manual intervention,” she said.

“This has delayed us being able to move forward as quickly as we would have liked to automatically process payments from subsequent days. The result is that it will be towards the end of this week before we will be operating back at real-time for all our customers.”

Ulster Bank’s systems are currently only capable of processing a very small level of payments and the bank is relying on AIB to clear the backlog.

AIB began processing payments on Friday after the Irish Payment Services Organisation held crisis meetings and teleconferences to solve the technical issues dogging Ulster Bank.

The embarrassing and damaging problems at Ulster Bank and parent group the RBS have left 100,000 customers in Ireland without access to their money.

Consumer watchdog the National Consumer Association has refused to be drawn into the fallout. The NCA said Ulster Bank’s problems were an issue for the Central Bank.

The Central Bank has been working with Ulster Bank to ensure customers will not suffer any long-term damage.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has called for zero-interest emergency funding to be offered to ensure businesses can meet payroll demands.

* Ulster Bank opening hours at 80 major branches will be extended to 6pm today. Further information is available at 1800-205-100 or online at www.ulsterbank.ie

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