Urgent warning as major Irish bank freezes 126,000 accounts ahead of exit
OVER 126,000 bank accounts have been frozen by Ulster Bank.
The bank began shedding services to customers in November before exiting the market.
Ulster Bank customers had six months to close their accounts, withdraw their money and open accounts with a new banking provider.
And after freezing over 120,000 accounts, the bank said only 224 customers asked to be unblocked. In most cases, this was to allow removal of savings.
Ulster Bank told the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform: “In each case we were able to lift the freeze almost immediately and provide the customer with the additional support they needed.”
However, the bank warned that there are still around 20,000 personal checking accounts that are “considered active” – but have exceeded their six-month notice period without closing their accounts or requesting an extension.
The bank said: “We are now in the process of freezing these accounts as a last resort attempt to engage with these customers.”
“We are ready to respond very quickly to support these customers.”
The bank claims 91 percent of its personal checking accounts are now either closed or have five or fewer transactions.
And that number increases to 95 percent when personal deposit accounts are included.
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About 81 percent of business and trading accounts are either closed or have five or fewer transactions.
Ulster Bank’s remaining 63 branches will cease trading on March 31st and close on April 21st. All services through An Post will be discontinued on March 31st.
In a statement last week, Ulster Bank urged customers who have not yet closed their accounts to do so.
The bank said: “Ulster Bank is also encouraging customers who have not yet taken action to start selecting a new provider, postponing their transactions and closing their current and deposit accounts within their notice period.
“All checking and deposit accounts that have exceeded their six-month notice period are now subject to closure, with the exception of known vulnerable customers and customers receiving Social Protection payments, and we will continue our outreach to those customers to assist them with the move.
“The bank will begin freezing retail and commercial accounts with higher levels of activity on or after February 2, 2023.
“An account will be frozen for a period of 30 days and then closed if the customer does not request access to the account. Ulster Bank has received minimal requests from customers to access their accounts after the freeze.
“This careful and controlled approach of freezing accounts for 30 days before it is closed means that customers who have not yet closed their account are given another final opportunity to engage and if a customer needs more support, can.” the Ulster Bank can still afford this phase.
“This phased approach to closing accounts is managed to maintain an orderly process for customers, the industry and other key stakeholders.”
https://www.thesun.ie/money/10153165/urgent-warning-irish-ulster-bank-close-accounts/ Urgent warning as major Irish bank freezes 126,000 accounts ahead of exit