BBC News

Ulster Bank redress scheme provokes response


Ulster Bank officials, financial journalists, customers and Northern Ireland assembly members give their views on the bank's compensation scheme.

Stephen Cruise, Ulster Bank's head of retail banking

"We want to make sure that anyone who was inconvenienced as a result of this incident is compensated accordingly.

"In terms of reassuring customers around their credit rating, we will make sure that it's not permanently affected.

"The £20 is an automatic payment for those who came in (to their bank) during that four week period and didn't normally, and we think that's a fair payment. That's not £20 for entire inconvenience."

Jim Brown, Ulster Bank chief executive

"In addition to the £20, we are also waiving fees for three months, we are paying the extra quarter of a per cent on deposits for three months and we are paying an additional (amount) up to £100 over and above the out-of-pocket expenses that customers have occurred as well.

"If customers are still not happy with the amount that we are paying for their inconvenience given the wide range of measures we are offering, then they should contact the bank and we'll look at this on a case-by-case basis."

Antoinette McKeown, Consumer Council chief executive

"Understandably consumers are both angry and confused. The Ulster Bank's redress scheme, in the Consumer Council's view, is finally seeking to uphold its duty to put things right for its customers.

"The issues that we have had throughout the crisis with the Ulster Bank in relation to leadership and clarity are still wanting today."

Paul Gosling, financial journalist

"This £20 has been a communication gaffe by Ulster Bank as it allowed customers to get it before they knew why they were getting it."

Bernie McKeown, Ulster Bank customer

"I am not a bit happy. On Monday morning, without a doubt, I will be in there closing my account.

"I wrote them a letter of complaint six weeks ago and have not had any response. They have made a mockery of the whole system and it's a disgrace."

Trevor Lunn, Alliance MLA

"I would like to welcome the fact that Ulster Bank have stuck to their promise to compensate customers who lost money during the computer problem that lasted several weeks.

"While this system does seem to be unnecessarily complicated for such a large amount of people who were affected, I do hope that Ulster Bank will be open-minded and flexible to the compensation claims they receive and that they are not too bureaucratic by allowing claims that would be seen as bending the rules."

Phil Flanagan, Sinn Fein MLA

"This is not a compensation scheme by any stretch of the imagination, but simply a reimbursement scheme for people that have been charged as a result of the bank's failure to carry out its primary function.

"The fact that compensation for out-of-pocket expenses has been capped at £100 for all personal and SME's customers further reinforces that fact."

Paul Girvan, DUP MLA

"Whilst some individual customers may feel that their inconvenience has been recognised, many others and particularly small businesses are likely to be disappointed with this response.

"The bank have not fully appreciated the differing scale of impact on different customers and a scale of payments should have been considered to recognise this."

Patsy McGlone, SDLP MLA

"When was the last time the bosses at Ulster Bank got a taxi? £20 is a miserly amount of money that wouldn't get anyone too far and is an insult to those customers who were left short due the bank's failure.

"How this is meant to compensate for their waiting time, let alone their journeys for multiple visits to the bank is beyond me.

"Many unanswered questions still remain. For instance a lot more clarity is required on what restitution packages are available for people who are not Ulster Bank customers but were left out of pocket due to their system breakdown, such as employees of their business customers who encountered a delay in their wages; or other companies that lost income while awaiting payments from Ulster Bank business customers."

Leslie Cree, UUP MLA

"Tens of thousands of people faced what can only be described as humiliation as they had to explain to friends, family members and businesses why they did not have funds. As a result many had to borrow from family and friends.

"The Ulster Bank has apologised to its customers but if they want to make a statement of apology to both customers and the wider community, I would like to see Ulster Bank give consideration to making a donation to the community and voluntary sector in light of their unacceptable actions during the last few months."