Record €3.5m fine for Ulster Bank over IT failure

Ulster Bank has been hit with the biggest fine ever imposed by the Central Bank for an IT failure that left hundreds of thousands of customers without basic banking functions for almost a month two years ago.

The bank has been handed a €3.5m fine by the Central Bank and has been reprimanded in relation to IT and governance failings that resulted in approximately 600,000 customers being deprived of essential banking services over a 28-day period during June and July 2012.

The failure, according to the Central Bank, threatened confidence in the operation of the retail banking sector and caused customers unacceptable inconvenience as they were prevented from carry out the most basic banking functions, including accessing cash from ATMs.

Ulster Bank said in a statement that it accepted the findings in full, adding that the failure “went to the heart of the trust [customers] have in us as a bank”.

“We accept the CBI’s finding that our governance arrangements and controls over our outsourced IT arrangements to RBS were not sufficiently robust and that this led to a prolonged failure which caused significant inconvenience to our customers,” a statement said.

“We have put in place an enhanced operational risk framework, significantly enhancing our capability in this area and improved our way of working with RBS to ensure that we are better placed to support our customers.”

The Central Bank says the penalty, which is in addition to a redress scheme that has seen Ulster Bank pay out approximately €59m to affected customers, reflects the seriousness with which it views the failings and its determination to ensure that customers have access to core services without disruption.


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