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Bank of Ireland gives customers six months to make repayments after summer ATM 'glitch'

BANK OF IRELAND (BOI) customers who withdrew more money than they had available the night of the ATM ‘glitch’ will have six months to repay the bank before fees or interest kick in. 

The bank said today that it has written to every impacted customer and has asked them to reach out to it. BOI has not disclosed how many customers this involves.

Impacted customers who went into an “unauthorised overdraft” have been given an interest-free temporary overdraft for 90 days.

Following this, if a customer has still not repaid the outstanding amount, they will be placed on an interest-free loan for a further 90 days. 

The bank has told The Journal that there are no fees for these temporary overdrafts and loans.

A spokesperson added that beyond the six month mark, the bank will “also continue to support any customer impacted, ensuring we offer an appropriate solution for their particular circumstances”.

On the evening of 15 August large queues formed at ATMs across the country after reports that people could withdraw up to €1,000 in cash for free following a glitch with BOI’s online services.

The bank subsequently apologised for the IT outage and warned that any cash withdrawals would be debited from customers’ accounts, even if individuals were able to withdraw above the normal limit of their account.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Finance Committee today, Bank of Ireland’s group chief executive Myles O’Grady addressed the August outage and said the bank “doesn’t always get it right.” 

“Unfortunately, the IT outage we experienced during the summer fell far short of our standards,” O’Grady said. 

He confirmed that a number of customers did go into an unauthorised overdraft on the evening of 15 August and said that the bank’s overall objective is to ensure “no customers suffer financial detriment as a consequence of the mistake we made”.

In response to a question from Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan, O’Grady also confirmed today that the bank had no role in the garda involvement seen on the night of the ATM issue.

Defective block finance

Bank of Ireland was joined at today’s committee by representatives from AIB, Permanent TSB and the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland.

Key issues discussed during the committee session included interest rates and the banking sector’s response to the Defective Block Redress Scheme.

The Government scheme for homeowners affected by defective concrete blocks containing excessive amounts of mica or pyrite, has come under criticism because homeowners must often bear much of the initial costs before they can seek money back from it.

The Banks were asked by TDs and Senators today if there is more they can do to support homeowners with this initial cost. 

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty described the situation facing homeowners as “a social catastrophe” and urged the banks to work together to come up with a product to support such customers. 

AIB’s chief executive Colin Hunt told the committee that to date only 66 customers had contacted the bank in relation to defective block related funding.

However, he said the bank believes that around 3,000 customers are impacted by the issue.

“We are only in the very early stages of identifying customers who have been impacted by this,” he said.