Ulster Bank customers in Cork vented their frustration today after thousands of child benefit payments were added to the backlog of unprocessed transactions.
Customers at city centre branches criticised the lack of information coming from the bank and highlighted the strain that it has put on their lives.
Today, RBS chairman Philip Hampton warned that the technical problems that began almost two weeks ago could drag on into next week.
Around 41,000 child benefit payments and 7,000 housing benefit payments were affected today, the Department of Social Protection confirmed.
Outside the Ulster Bank branch on Patrick Street, mum-of-two Niamh Wilkins from Glanmire said: “I had to borrow money from my mum to help pay the bills. It’s very frustrating. They can’t tell me how long it’s going to last.”
Another Cork woman, Anne Noonan, added: “My children’s allowance has not gone into my Ulster Bank account today. Now I can’t pay my child-minder tomorrow and will have to borrow the money.
“It’s ridiculous. How long does it take to fix?”
“I’ve been patient so far, but bills are mounting and now I’m afraid my monthly salary won’t be paid this weekend.”
Emma O’Sullivan from Little Island also had to turn to her parents for support.
“My wages were more than a week late. I was due to go away last weekend so I had to borrow from my parents. I feel sorry for the staff in the local branches. They are doing their best and it’s not their fault.”
Well-known Cork fishmonger Pat O’Connell was also at Ulster Bank this morning: “I pay my staff through Ulster Bank and their payments were delayed.
“It’s frustrating and it’s a hassle, but the staff here in the branch have done everything they can. The problems are further up the chain.”
Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said the Central Bank and Ulster Bank would have serious questions to answer about the ongoing problems when they appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Finance Committee this week.
“The scale of the problem at Ulster Bank was clearly larger than the bank was willing to acknowledge in the first instance — and it has failed to get to grips with the problem in the two weeks that have since passed.”
The collapse of the payments processing systems has meant the bank is handing over cash to customers when they turn up in branches with identity documents and a payslip or social welfare details.