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IT problems cost RBS Group 175m

RBS Group took a 175 million hit as a result of last summer's IT meltdown, which left NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank customers locked out of their accounts.

Its annual report showed that the bulk of the redress costs related to Ulster Bank, where the problems took weeks longer to clear up, with the bill reaching around 82 million.

The group promised that no one would be left permanently worse off as a result of the chaos which left people barred from accessing their wages and disrupted holidays and house moves.

People were told to hang on to receipts such as phone bills and transport tickets and the group promised to compensate any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, as well as waiving interest and charges.

In an additional gesture to repair its damaged reputation for Ulster Bank customers, current account holders in the Republic of Ireland were handed 25 euro payments while those in Northern Ireland received 20 in one-off payouts.

A spokesman for the group said that while the bank has now generally put matters right for customers, there is no time limit so people can still come forward if they have incurred extra costs.

The group said on Thursday that staff worked "tirelessly" throughout the disruption to tackle the problems and provide full redress and compensation. The banking giant also put aside an extra 1.1 billion last year to compensate customers who have been mis-sold payment protection insurance, taking its total PPI compensation pot to 2.2 billion.

It said that with the prospect of a new financial regulator looking into many products, services and sales practices, "there are likely to be further impacts to business practices and potential additional costs of redress". The bank said it is "actively working to ensure its products set and sales practices are appropriate".

The group also reported that the effects of a Government scheme to help borrowers by giving lenders access to cheap finance were seen in an uplift in its mortgage lending last year.

Mortgage balances grew by 4.1 billion over 2012 and growth as a result of the Funding for Lending scheme began to appear towards the end of the year as mortgage applications moved through the pipeline to completion, RBS said.

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