We thought it would be helpful to provide an update on the progress made since our earlier announcement and the two important steps we are taking for SME customers who were in GRG between 2008 and 2013.
Automatic refund of complex fees
Since our earlier announcement Ulster Bank Ireland DAC has:
- Completed a review of all SME customer files to establish whether they were charged complex fees whilst in GRG.
- We have identified all of our customers who are eligible for a refund of the complex fees they paid to us and have either processed their refund or contacted them for further information to facilitate the refund payment.
GRG complaints process
We have been addressing the complaints received from our customers and these are now being assessed through our GRG complaints process. If any of these customers are unhappy with the bank’s decision, they will have the opportunity to refer their complaint to the Independent Third Party (“ITP”). [The appeals process is subject to the oversight of the ITP and any appeals against the outcome of the complaint review will be adjudicated upon by the ITP]
We would encourage any customers with concerns about their treatment in GRG during the relevant period, including any matters relating to Republic of Ireland banking regulations at the time, to get in touch with our helpdesk team.
Our GRG FAQs will help you understand whether or not you are in scope for the GRG complaints process, means by which you can make a complaint, and how these complaints will be handled under CPC and SME Regulations.
GRG complaints process to close to new complaints on 31 December 2018
On 28th September 2018, Ulster Bank Ireland wrote to their GRG customers who have not yet submitted a complaint, to provide three months notice advising that the GRG complaints process will close to new complaints on 31 December 2018.
The complaints process was opened to GRG customers in January 2017 alongside the Automatic Refund of Complex Fees process.
GRG customers operating in ROI are eligible to make a complaint under the GRG complaints process if they were under the control of GRG in the period 2008-2013. To date, 69 complaints have been received by the GRG complaints helpdesk, 53 of which fall within the scope of the GRG complaints process. 36 of these have been assessed with outcome letters issued. The Bank has upheld 15 complaints in full or in part, making offers of €234k for direct losses. The bank is currently receiving approximately one complaint a month, a number that has been in decline since its peak of approximately nine a month in June 2017.
For the Ulster Bank Ireland DAC GRG customers who recently received a letter for the first time (August 2018) informing them of the GRG complaints process and of their right to submit a complaint into this process, the closure date for receipt of their complaint has not yet been determined and they will therefore not receive a closure letter today. We are encouraging those GRG customers to submit their complaint in advance of the 31st December 2018, however we will write to them separately to advise them of the closure date when determined.
Customers who wish to make a complaint once the scheme has closed will be able to avail of the bank’s usual complaints procedure, including access to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman appeals process but will not be able to appeal the outcome to the Independent Third Party.
Sir William Blackburne (Independent Third Party) has been consulted in respect of the closure of the GRG complaints process.
Complaints data as at 26 September 2018.