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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Ulster Bank customers in line for payouts worth millions after fiasco

People queue to withdraw cash from an ATM at the Ulster Bank branch on Dublins O'Connell Street. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 23/6/12
People queue to withdraw cash from an ATM at the Ulster Bank branch on Dublins O'Connell Street. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 23/6/12

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

THOUSANDS of customers of Ulster Bank are in line for refunds and compensation totalling millions for a large range of missed payments, charges and other losses.

It has emerged that the beleaguered bank will refund all charges and fees of other banks as a result of the IT crisis, as well as its own charges.

It will refund bank charges such as overdraft fees, and make up for lost interest on savings.

But now it has also promised to cover fees for missing payments, like utility bills, and will cover the cost of travel tickets and money-transfer fees.

Where appropriate, it is even expected to compensate people for missing flights.

Compensation payments will be in addition to out-of-pocket costs incurred by customers of the bank, as well as those who bank elsewhere and who have been impacted by the IT crisis.

Details of how the compensation scheme will work for Ulster Bank customers -- and people with accounts in other banks -- have already been outlined for its sister banks in Britain.

The same principles will apply for Ulster Bank, which is still struggling to get its electronic-payments systems up to date for 600,000 customers.

Hundreds of workers, including HSE nurses, have yet to receive pay that was due to them on June 21.

The bank is promising to have most accounts updated by next Monday. Its chief executive, Jim Brown, said last week that Ulster was working on a plan to ensure that those who lost out all get payments to reflect the inconvenience suffered.

The Central Bank has demanded that a "restitution plan" is put in place.

A spokeswoman for Ulster Bank said yesterday: "RBS/ NatWest have confirmed how they will be putting it right for customers.

"We are committed to finalising our plans for compensation in the coming days, albeit that the same principles will apply. We have confirmed that no customer, or customers of other banks, will be left permanently out of pocket and that we are working with credit-reference agencies to ensure that customers' credit ratings are not impacted as a result of this issue."

Customers will be able to get compensation for:

• Overdraft fees (both for being overdrawn and exceeding a credit limit.

• Overdraft interest.

• Late-payment fees and interest on mortgages, loans and credit cards.

• Interest wrongly charged on late payments.

• Cash-advance fees and interest on credit cards.

People who either bank with Ulster, or who had wages or social welfare delayed because it is routed through the bank, will also be able to claim for missed savings-account interest.

Meltdown

People impacted by the systems meltdown have been advised to keep written details of any losses and present this as evidence to the bank.

Banking experts said that the customer refunds and compensation bill for Ulster Bank alone could run into millions of euro.

UK banking experts have estimated that the costs for the three banks could top €130m.

Irish Independent

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