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Pay day blues

NCB begs customers to understand as it continues work on system

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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National Commercial Bank (NCB) has warned its customers to brace for more delays as it continues to implement a new systems upgrade.

Three months after NCB embarked on what it described as “a complex but very necessary system upgrade” the bank yesterday told its customers that, “While we continue to work on restoring full stability of our systems, you may still experience some delays and intermittent service with some of the features on our platforms”.

According to NCB, as it approaches the month's end, which is typically a high-traffic period for its branches, Customer Care Centre and online banking platforms, customers should be mindful that bill payments may be done using its online banking platform or the mobile app.

“Payments to JPS (Jamaica Public Service Company), Flow, and the NWC (National Water Commission) may also be made at any of our intelligent ABMs (iABMs), which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in branches islandwide,” said NCB in its latest missive to its customers.

The bank also warned that payments may take up to 72 hours to be processed, and are not always reflected on a payee's account immediately.

“If you incur any late fees or penalties as a result of these delays, we will reimburse you. In the meantime, we encourage you to make your payments as early as possible.

“As an alternative, you may visit your payees' offices to make payments directly or use your credit card to make payments via their online platforms. We understand that you are used to the convenience of paying your bills online and having it updated within 24 hours. Our technical team is focused on bringing back these service standards in the shortest possible time,” added the bank.

NCB further noted that it continues to experience delays in its Automated Clearing House (ACH), Real-time gross settlement (RTGS) and wire transfers.

While the bank did not state this explicitly, industry sources warned that the delay could be bad news for people who get paid directly to their accounts, as they might not have access to their salaries in the normal time.

This was hinted at by NCB which said: “While some transfers are processed within the stipulated timelines, some may take a while longer. If you made a transfer using any of these services and see where it has not been processed within the expected timelines, please contact our customer care team immediately.”

NCB further noted that while ACH transfers to other financial institutions submitted before 2:30 pm would be processed and sent to the receiving financial institution on the same business day, “the receiving financial institution may take up to 72 hours to processes the file received from it”.

In addition, NCB said RTGS transfers to other financial institutions received before 2:30 pm will be processed within two hours.

“If you are unable to view your credit card statements online, please send a message from your online banking portal to indicate this,” the bank appealed.

According to NCB, the majority of its in-branch services, including account-opening and updating account information, have been restored but customers might still experience extended wait times in some of its branches.

“If possible, we encourage you to use our non-branch channels such as the iABMs in our 24/7 Bank on the Go locations,” said the message to customers.

“We will not rest until our services are fully restored and we can once again deliver the standard of service that you expect from NCB. We will keep you fully updated on the timelines for resolution.

“The NCB family is truly grateful for your patience and understanding,” the bank said days after its new CEO Septimus “Bob” Blake also thanked customers for their patience and promised “a better banking experience for all in the shortest time possible”.

In his note to customers one week ago, Blake said when the bank started the first phase of its upgrade in May its aim was to ensure that its systems were modern, more user-friendly, more stable and more secure than the previous system, which was often plagued with periods of downtime.

“Once all the issues with the new system have been addressed, it promises to be more secure, more stable and easier to use, with great new features many customers like you have requested. Our intention is to deliver to our customers a world-class banking experience. We know that we have fallen short of this target but will not rest until this is achieved,” said Blake.


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