Published Tuesday, 03 July 2012
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Sammy Wilson was called to the Assembly on Tuesday afternoon to answer an emergency question about what exactly is going on.
Customers throughout Northern Ireland - and also in the Republic - have not had proper access to their accounts because of a technical glitch which occurred on Tuesday 19 June.
The IT problems affected RBS and NatWest customers too and resulted in a huge backlog of millions of transactions.
While the other banks in the RBS group have resolved their issues, the Ulster Bank is still battling through the buildup.
Mr Wilson admitted that despite meeting the head of RBS Sir Philip Hampton on Monday, it still is not clear to him when Ulster Bank's full service will resume.
The DUP minister says the bank has most likely damaged its reputation - as well as causing problems for customers - by dripfeeding information.
"It'll be fixed by Monday. On Monday, it'll be fixed by Friday. On Friday, it'll be fixed by next week," he said, recalling the bank's previous assurances.
He said it would have been better if the bank had been upfront and told the public the problem would take two to three weeks to fix.
Mr Wilson said the RBS boss had told him that "it certainly will not be sorted this week."
They've made that clear and they are talking about next week, though they wouldn't say the beginning or the middle of the week. Simply that they hoped - and it was that they hoped - to have it resolved by next week.
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson
Sir Hampton was in Belfast on Monday to issue a profound apology to customers.
He admitted that it had "taken a lot longer to fix than we thought it might and we do apologise profoundly for that."
He said that fixing the transactions backlog is their number one priority.
"I don't think it would be right to put a precise date on when we can fully remediate everything - but we are making progress every day."
"As we go into next week, I think we will have broken the back of the problem if not completely sorted it," he said.
The bank previously revealed that the initial problem originated during maintenance on their systems which are managed by a team in Scotland.
A Citizens Advice Bureau spokesperson has warned that it could take six to nine months for Ulster Bank to deal with compensation claims arising from its processing backlog.
Pól Callaghan, who works for the bureau, is advising anyone who may seek compensation to keep a record of relevant transactions or charges.
"Keep records of transactions you are trying to make with the bank, keep records of costs that you are incurring.
If you are having to pay for things you wouldn't ordinarily have to pay for, if you are incurring any charges because you will need that to seek recompense later on from the bank.
"As much as actual hardship is a problem at the minute for a lot of people, the not knowing which concerns people, not knowing when the problem will be resolved and also not knowing exactly what is happening with your own bank account and you own personal finances."
"We know that RBS has said that nobody will be left out of pocket and we certainly think that the bank should cover out of pocket expenditures that are reasonably incurred by people dealing with the direct consequences."
Mr Callaghan said that anyone travelling on holiday should make appropriate preparations and not rely on one cash card and look at other alternatives such as pre-paid cards.
Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin says that if Northern Ireland had full fiscal devolution, Stormont could hold the bank's officials to account.
Ulster Bank telephone: 0800 231 232
The Public Accounts Committee member explained: "As it is, the Assembly can simply invite the management of Ulster Bank, and indeed any of the other banks, to come and discuss the services they are providing for customers in the north. We can't compel them to come - we can't compel the production of evidence or papers."