KBC and Ulster Bank customers face ‘chaos’ as staff shortages cause major delays in new accounts

Over a million people in Ireland who are currently at KBC or Ulster Bank are facing long delays in switching their accounts.

Due to staff shortages at some banks, those trying to schedule in-person appointments to get their affairs in order before the big closing have to wait weeks to be served.

As seen in many sectors, banks are grappling with staff shortages amid increased demand for new accounts.

According to the Irish Independent, some people trying to open with a new bank are also temporarily blocked from a number of services.

READ MORE: Irish bank customers wait up to two hours to receive phone calls, report shows

These include opening a credit card account and obtaining overdraft service.

The problems are the result of long delays associated with the mandatory credit rating checks, which are done for every new customer applying for any loan service.

Those looking to transfer to a bank where they can take advantage of an overdraft must have had their new account for three months before they can be considered eligible.

The Central Bank is now being urged to take action and do more to stop any “chaos” due to the closures.

Despite the complications, consumer journalist Sinead Ryan told Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder that while KBC is folding faster than expected, Ulster Bank will still be around in a year or two.

She said: “KBC has decided to pull out of Ireland a little quicker than originally anticipated.

“So, by all accounts, they’re only going to give customers only about 90 days… it’s not very long.

KBC and Ulster Bank customers face ‘chaos’ as staff shortages cause major delays in new accounts

“Ulster Bank is saying ‘we’ll give you at least six months’ notice,’ but in truth, the reality is that Ulster Bank will still be here in a year or two.”

He confirmed that it is in fact more complicated for people who have other services with banks, such as checking accounts, deposit accounts, credit cards, car loans and overdrafts, but said a Central Bank exchange code could save some stress.

“They force the bank that you are moving to give you what is called a change package.

“And by undertaking that, your entire account — direct debits and standing orders and all that — would be transferred within 10 business days.”

However, with staff shortages and a large influx of new customers, people are being warned that the 10-day wait could skyrocket amid demand.

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