Ulster Bank Must Address Accountability and Proper Compensation, Committees Urge

Synopsis: The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Committee for Finance and Personnel received a briefing today from Ulster Bank officials on what action has been taken following the bank’s system failure earlier this year.

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 11 October 2012

Reference: ETI 02/12/13 / CFP 02/12/13

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Committee for Finance and Personnel received a briefing today from Ulster Bank officials on what action has been taken following the bank’s system failure earlier this year. 

During the joint Committee meeting, Members questioned Ulster Bank officials on: the independent investigation into the failure; the likelihood of a systems failure happening again; consumer issues; and the compensation scheme. 

Chairperson of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Patsy McGlone, MLA said: “Today’s joint Committee meeting is evidence that Members are very concerned about the Ulster Bank compensation scheme.  The bank’s officials assured us in July that no customer would be left out of pocket as a result of this incident. 

“I am well aware of the problems that the failure has caused.  The Committees have received detailed accounts from Citizens Advice, Advice NI, the Consumer Council and Christians Against Poverty, of the adverse impact and hardship cause to many Ulster Bank customers.  We have also had detailed information from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association and the Federation of Small Business on the very significant difficulties faced by businesses as a result of the crisis including the inability to pay staff, suppliers and subcontractors. 

“The Committees want absolute guarantees that the bank is taking proactive steps to ensure that all customers, including those of other banks get appropriate redress and fair compensation for the disruptions to their lives and businesses during the systems failure.” 

Chairperson of the Committee for Finance and Personnel, Daithí McKay, MLA said: “Although the Ulster Bank has given some assurances regarding compensation and details of preventative measures to keep this from happening again, the Bank needs to be held accountable for the difficulties that it has caused.  This is absolutely crucial from a consumer-confidence perspective. 

“The meeting considered the detailed, on-going investigations into the cause of the failure and the way in which it was handled.  Today’s hearing was effective in elucidating further detail on the Ulster Bank compensation and redress package.  However, the Committees are determined to continue to pursue unresolved issues and, in particular, have agreed to scrutinise the separate inquiries being undertaken by the RBS and by the Financial Services Authority over the coming period.  Furthermore, I expect the outcomes of these investigations to result in greater accountability from the Bank to ensure that this does not happen again.”

ENDS

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