Uls te rBank faces €30m com­pen­sa­tion bill fol­low­ing lat­est over­charg­ing fi­asco

Irish Independent - - News - Gretchen Frie­mann

UL­STER Bank will fork out close to €30m in com­pen­sa­tion to thou­sands of its busi­ness cus­tomers over the next nine months as the lender grap­ples with an­other fee blun­der.

The bank only dis­cov­ered it was over­charg­ing cus­tomers linked to up to 18,000 ac­counts in April 2017. The prob­lem came to light af­ter the Cen­tral Bank or­dered Ul­ster Bank to con­duct a wider trawl of its busi­ness in the wake of the tracker mort­gage de­ba­cle.

Ul­ster Bank re­cently ad­mit­ted to an ad­di­tional 1,500 to 2,000 loans af­fected by the over­charg­ing, pro­vok­ing cen­sure from Fi­nance Min­is­ter Paschal Dono­hoe.

This lat­est er­ror, which amounted to a frac­tion­ally higher in­ter­est rate charge, is likely to fur­ther muddy the sec­tor’s rep­u­ta­tion given the scale of cus­tomers af­fected and be­cause it emerged only at the be­hest of the reg­u­la­tor.

The bank ex­pects the fi­nan­cial im­pact to its cus­tomers to be rel­a­tively small with the average re­dress, which will in­clude com­pen­satory in­ter­est, to­talling less than €2,000.

While the vast ma­jor­ity of af­fected bor­row­ers have al­ready been re­turned to the cor­rect rate, the bank plans to write to cus­tomers on June 28 to ex­plain the mix-up and no­tify of the re­dress due.

Ed­die Cullen, Ul­ster Bank’s head of com­mer­cial bank­ing, is­sued an apol­ogy for the lat­est slip-up, adding “al­though this will take time to fully re­solve, we recog­nise that full res­o­lu­tion is essential for cus­tomers and in build­ing their trust in Ul­ster Bank”.

The reg­u­la­tor has closely mon­i­tored Ul­ster’s han­dling of this fresh over­charg­ing is­sue but it is un­clear if the bank will face sanc­tions for the er­ror.

A Cen­tral Bank spokesper­son said it “ex­pects all firms to have ad­e­quate sys­tems and con­trols in place”.

The spokesper­son added: “Where is­sues arise that im­pact cus­tomers, they should be ad­dressed and rec­ti­fied, with the aim of pro­tect­ing con­sumers’ in­ter­ests.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.