Apology issued after thousands of customers unable to access online banking

The owner of Ulster Bank has apologised after customers were unable to access their online bank accounts for a period of five hours yesterday

THE owner of Ulster Bank has apologised after customers were unable to access their online bank accounts for a period of five hours yesterday.

RBS/Natwest, which owns the Ulster Bank, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland brands, suffered technological problems yesterday morning across the UK, with thousands of customers locked out of their online and mobile accounts.

Customers started reporting problems at around 5am and a statement issued later that morning by the bank confirmed the issues had been resolved. Telephone banking and ATMs were not impacted by Friday's problems.

A statement issued by RBS on Friday morning said: "We would like to apologise to customers who experienced issues logging into their online and mobile banking accounts this morning, this issue has now been resolved."

The latest disruption came just a day after Barclays customers were left struggling to log in to their accounts.

Meanwhile, HSBC is carrying out routine essential maintenance on Sunday which means its mobile banking app and online banking will be unavailable for personal customers for a period in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The RBS banking group has nearly eight million customers who use mobile and online banking.

Earlier on Friday, Mr McEwan told LBC: "We feel the pain for our customers every time this happens.

"We're still working through what the issue is there...

"Absolute apologies to customers who are used to using mobile - and more and more are using mobile."

"We make a lot of changes to our technology on an ongoing basis - it may be related to that but we just don't know at this point," he said.

When asked about previous glitches, Mr McEwan said such incidents had "dropped dramatically".

"If you look back at 2014 we had something like 300 incidents, last year we only had 20, so we are certainly improving the organisation and how it operates for our customers."

Earlier this month, RBS announced plans to swing the axe on another 54 branches in the UK, 14 of which are the last bank in town - meaning there are no other bank or building society branches in those areas.

The banking problems follow TSB's huge IT meltdown earlier this year, after a botched IT switch saw millions of customers locked out of accounts.

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