Sunday 18 March 2018

Ulster won't say if chief will give up bonus over fiasco

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

ULSTER Bank last night refused to say whether boss Jim Brown would give up his bonus following the computer systems meltdown that blocked thousands of people from accessing their money.

The head of Ulster's parent company, Stephen Hester of Royal Bank of Scotland, is to waive his bonus.

"I think it's inappropriate for me to have a bonus this year. We have let our customers down," he said yesterday.

RBS, which is 82pc owned by the British government, has struggled to get on top of a huge backlog of failed payments after a software upgrade went wrong last week.

This has resulted in it being unable to process payments for its NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank personal and business customers.

The payment problems at Ulster Bank have entered their 12th day today. Around 150,000 people are affected, including those who do not bank with Ulster, but have their payments routed through it.

A spokeswoman for Mr Brown, who is chief executive of Ulster Bank, refused to comment on whether or not he would follow the example.

"That is something for another day. Our focus at the moment is on getting customers sorted out," she said.

Asked if Mr Brown gets a bonus and how much it is, the spokeswoman added: "We never comment on that."

New Zealander Mr Brown broke his silence this week and apologised for the IT meltdown that has denied customers access to salaries, social welfare pensions and child benefit.

Mr Brown said it will be the middle of next week before the unprecedented breakdown is resolved.

Large numbers of people due to be paid in the last two days have complained that their salaries are not showing up in the bank accounts due to the technical meltdown.

The bank is insisting that most people due to be paid through Ulster got their money.


Parent group RBS is expected to face a bill of at least £100m (€124m) as a result of the massive IT systems malfunction. Problems at RBS and sister bank NatWest were resolved in days, but it is set to take at least two weeks to get Ulster Bank operating normally again.

Ulster Bank insisted yesterday that "the bulk" of salary payments are up to date, but that some customers might still experience a delay in receiving their pay.

The bank said 60 of its branches will stay open today and 22 tomorrow.

Some 70,000 people have made calls to the bank's call centre so far this week.

Irish Independent

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