Bank customers ‘facing account lock-out’ if business details aren’t updated

Gary McDonald Small business Editor

SOME Ulster Lender small business customers in Northern Ireland face staying locked out of their accounts from the close of this 7 days until they entire what a single company owner explained as an “unwieldy and unnecessary” online approach updating their specifics.

The financial institution wrote to clients in April inquiring them for up-to-day info about their business accounts.

It suggests it desires to make positive it holds precise information and facts about their organization, together with aspects on persons who have important command more than it.

The bank insists it is complying with regulatory obligations, and the process types a crucial aspect of it potential to detect and combat fraudulent transactions, cash laundering and tax evasion.

And it warned that if it does not obtain this details online by May 13 “we will need to have to prohibit obtain to your accounts which indicates (but is not confined to) you will not likely be in a position to deposit, withdraw or transfer funds and we won’t be equipped to method any standing orders”.

But a person businessman who contacted the Irish Information insisting the system is “pointless and avoidable” as Ulster Bank, with whom he has experienced a yrs-long affiliation, held all his info currently.

And he claimed: “The on-line process is cumbersome and desperately time-consuming, and as soon as you get you far, you will have to submit personal particulars to a third bash, which I’m not prepared to do.”

The director, whose very long-recognized North Down organization employs far more than a dozen employees, explained that, getting abandoned the on the internet method midway by means of, he was then phoned by Ulster Financial institution.

“The lady stated it was her career to cellular phone around clients and try to assist them.

“She told me I was the only 1 who’d truly even acquired that far, which to me indicates that nobody is even seeking to go via that laborious and unwieldy system on the portal.”

He added: “Ulster Financial institution now has all the particulars of my company, me personally, and my fellow director.

“Nevertheless in this article I am, staying questioned to give photographic ID and deliver in utility expenditures to confirm my address. It is really pointless in my watch.

“And it will never expense me a 2nd thought to acquire my business elsewhere, which is a perspective I’m guaranteed many others in a related position will share.”

A spokesperson for Ulster Bank informed the Irish Information: “In purchase to comply with our regulatory specifications, we are writing to most of our company buyers to guarantee that we hold up to date details for them and their organization.

“We’re carrying out this to help prevent fraud and financial criminal offense. In the instance the place a purchaser doesn’t reply to multiple tries to verify this information and facts, we might prohibit accessibility to specific account solutions.

“We inspire prospects to react to any correspondence as shortly as doable so we can proceed to fulfill their banking wants.”

The improved safety checks appear as component of the Strong Shopper Authentication (SCA) procedure led by trade association United kingdom Finance.

Jana Waterproof coat, controlling director of payments and innovation at United kingdom Finance claimed: “Fraud is a rising problem, with criminals thieving additional than £750 million in the initial 50 percent of 2021 by yourself. That is why it is more essential than ever that added protections like Powerful Consumer Authentication are place in spot.

“For shops, implementing SCA will provide customers peace of thoughts that payment procedures are a lot more secure.

“The marketplace and stakeholders have labored tirelessly to get completely ready for this alter and we stimulate any merchants who have not however carried out SCA to act as before long as doable to guarantee the new protections are accessible to all.”

The authentic deadline for SCA was March 2021 but the FCA agreed to a hold off March 2022 owing to Covid-19, and it has stated that there will be no additional extensions to this deadline.

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