Saturday 29 November 2014

Bank of Ireland admits public sector payment delays following blunder

Ailish O'Hora and Charlie Weston

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

BANK of Ireland insisted today that the thousands of public sector workers who did not receive their salaries yesterday have now been paid.

However, due to processing delays with other institutions, some payments may not be accessed until later today.

It is understood that Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and Ulster Bank accounts were credited this morning but others, like Permanent TSB and credit unions, for example, there could be delays.

The bank said in a statement this morning: "Bank of Ireland can this morning confirm that all payments which were due to be made yesterday have been sent to customer accounts overnight.

"However, if any customer has not seen the expected payment reaching their account they are asked to check their account for updates throughout the morning, and to contact their bank if they continue to experience any issue.

"Bank of Ireland again sincerely apologises to customers for the delay in payments. We will ensure that no customers will be out of pocket in relation to any resultant fees or charges from this incident."

A number of people had contacted Independent.ie today to insist that they had still not received their wages.

More than 100,000 people had been affected by the Bank of Ireland (BoI) payments error yesterday, with nurses, teachers and soldiers left without wages going into the bank holiday weekend.

And workers in semi-states Bus Eireann, Irish Rail and An Post were also among those whose salaries did not arrive in their bank accounts because of problems at BoI.

Private sector workers also awoke yesterday morning to discover they had not been paid.

Eircom said 2,600 of its staff failed to get paid on time. Even people on community employment schemes were left without their money, most of whom only get €208 a week.

And some 30,500 retired public servants were left without pension payments, according to the Department of Finance.

BoI, which processes thousands of payments on behalf of employers in the public and private sectors, said a breakdown in its systems was to blame for the delay. "The bank apologies profusely to those customers affected," it said.

Banks said they would not hit customers who end up overdrawn because of the botch-up.

Arrangements

The BoI spokeswoman said: "Bank of Ireland will ensure that none of our customers will be out of pocket, in relation to any resultant fees or charges from this incident.

"Similar arrangements have been made with other banks for their customers."

But the bank was unable to say how many workers and pensioners were affected by late payments. It said the delay only affected one file and the majority of payments will be processed "in a timely manner".

The Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) said the delay in paying salaries to primary teachers had caused a great deal of worry, disruption and unnecessary hardship.

General secretary of the Public Service Executive Union Tom Geraghty said more than 100,000 people have been affected by the payment delay.

Both BoI and AIB say customers who incur any late payment fees as a result of the error will be refunded in full.

Ulster Bank says if customers are in difficulty because of the delay that they should bring ID and their payslip into their local branch. The Irish Banking Federation had no comment.

The payments mess is just the latest of a string of payments bungles this year.

In May, thousands of pensioners and people on disability payments were hit by a processing problem at AIB.

Earlier in May, problems at a number of banks led to thousands of pensioners and sick people were hit with delays to their payments due to blunders. And the payments chaos left many workers without pay for close to two days, despite banks taking mortgage and other payments.

Irish Independent

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