Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Senator Thomas Byrne has written to the Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Finance committee requesting that Ulster Bank and the Central Bank be invited to attend before the committee to answer questions on a series of IT blunders at the bank.
The Meath Senator was speaking following the latest problems experienced by Ulster Bank customers seeking to access cash at ATMs last night.
“Last summer, up to 600,000 Ulster Bank customers had to endure several weeks of serious disruption and inconvenience due to a failure of the bank’s IT systems. We were assured then by the bank and the authorities that everything would be fully investigated and that the bank’s systems would be brought fully up-to-date,” said Senator Byrne.
“Last month, in another serious development, it emerged that the bank had for a number of years under collected mortgage repayments from 1,300 customers totalling over €40 million. We also know that Ulster Bank cited IT reasons for the lengthy delay in passing on additional mortgage interest relief to first time buyers.
“The IT problems that occurred in the last 24 hours are simply the latest instalment in a pattern of IT blunders at the bank. The bank’s customers are ultimately the people suffering as a result and they deserve answers about the true state of the IT systems at the bank.
“I have suggested that a special meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Finance committee be called as early as possible and that Ulster Bank and the Central Bank be requested to attend. As well as investigating the Ulster Bank debacle, the Central Bank also needs to rigorously assess the IT systems of all the other banks in Ireland. It is not good enough for the Central Bank to ask the banks to review their systems. The Central Bank – as Regulator and as the consumer watchdog – must test these systems to ensure they are fit for purpose.”