Ulster Bank to compensate account holders for IT chaos

A compensation package worth €35m will be given to people forced to carry out branch transactions during the IT meltdown in June and July

Ulster Bank customers hit by the month-long IT meltdown which crippled the bank will be offered a one-off compensation payment of €25 (£19) and free banking for three months.

Under a compensation package worth at least €35m (£27m), the bank will give the payout to personal current account holders who were forced to visit a branch to carry out a transaction during the IT crisis between 19 June and 18 July. The period of 19 May-18 June will be used for comparison.

The meltdown was caused when Ulster Bank’s parent company, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which has been bailed out by the UK government, upgraded its IT systems.

Customers of RBS and NatWest had their ordinary banking services back up and running within days, while the chaos lasted for a month in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Savings customers will be compensated with extra interest payments equivalent to 0.25% AER on their average daily balance between 1 September and 30 November 2012.

Ulster Bank also said it would waive certain fees, charges and surcharge interest for three months as it bids to rebuild its reputation among its 600,000 customers. It also said it would delay the introduction of maintenance fees for all personal current account holders until July 2013.

“We recognise that we have work to do to restore our customers’ trust in us and we believe that this is the first step in that direction,” Ulster Bank’s chief executive Jim Brown said.

“We have worked with our key stakeholders to ensure the additional measures which we are taking provide a comprehensive response to customer concerns and demonstrate our commitment to making amends.”

Customers have also been told to claim from the bank for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the chaos.

The bank said it will start processing claims from Monday 3 September and has offered to top up personal and small business customers’ losses by 20% up to a maximum of €120 (£95).

It has urged customers to back up claims with paperwork such as phone bills, bus tickets, travel receipts, bills or invoices.

Ulster said any errors made on fees, charges and debit interest will be corrected by the end of October 2012, and that customers’ credit ratings will not be permanently affected by the banking breakdown.

Free reports from the Irish Credit Bureau will be available within five days for customers who have any concerns.

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