Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has hit out at Ulster Bank’s treatment of its local customers as totally unacceptable, describing it as second class when compared to how the rest of the RBS group has been treating their customers.
The East Antrim representative, who also sits on the Assembly’s Finance committee, said:
“We are now ten days into this crisis and it is absolutely intolerable that local people who are customers of the Ulster Bank still cannot access their funds.
I am extremely concerned that the Ulster Bank, which is part of the RBS Group, has treated local customers as second class when compared to how its sister companies, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Nat West have been treating their customers.
Why should the technical problems result in more severe delays here than in other areas?
RBS and Nat West Banks have opened over 1,000 of their branches from 8am to 6pm on week days and 8am to 4pm on Saturday. However, locally the Ulster Bank have extended the opening hours of only 32 of their 86 branches to 7pm on Friday. Only 26 will be only from 10am to 3pm on Saturday and 10 of their main branches on Sunday from 10am to 1pm.”
Mr Beggs continued: “I have learnt of the desperation of some local Ulster Bank customers in East Antrim who have been unable to visit their bank before going to work. Some have had to take time off work to try to access their money.
Most Ulster Bank customers are now being adversely affected as monthly salaries are now due and weekly salaries have already been affected. Other customers whose benefits are paid into their Ulster bank accounts are also experiencing hardship. Many are becoming desperate with the urgent need to complete their weekly grocery shop, feed their families pay for electricity and gas. The cash flow of local businesses is also being disrupted there is an urgent need for customers to access their money, why are local customers not being given at least similar access as the sister Banks?”
The Ulster Unionist MLA went on to say:
“Subsequently, there must be a review of the inappropriate risks that customers have been exposed to when much of the bank’s IT support has been moved to the Far East. It appears to me that once more major decisions have been taken in the interests of short term profit over good practice and the overpaid senior executives of the RBS group do not appear to understand the additional risks associated with their decision.
Shareholders, in this case the general public, must be asking just who is to be made accountable for the decision to close down the UK based IT centres and ship the work off shore without correctly identifying the associated risks? “