For over two weeks, UNI bank clients have been flocking to branches across New Brunswick to sort out various technical issues.
It’s prevented some of them from paying their bills, being paid on time and withdrawing money.
Luc Jalbert has been a UNI customer for over 35 years.
He went to the Morton Avenue branch in Moncton on Thursday because he can’t use his banking app or debit card.
“I don’t like the new app,” he said.
“The old app was very easy to navigate, you could see everything, your transactions and everything. I find the new app … they missed the mark.”
The problems began on July 6, when UNI launched its own banking platform after ending its previous partnership with Quebec’s Desjardins Bank.
In a press conference in Caraquet on Thursday, UNI CEO Robert Moreau said the decision to launch its own banking platform was necessary because continuing the bank’s partnership with Desjardins meant it wouldn’t be able to offer services tailored to UNI’s clientele.
The partnership cost UNI roughly $25 million annually.
“With a big transformation of this magnitude, the implementation of the new system did not come without surprises,” he told reporters in French.
“But I can assure you the system we have in place is dependable, robust and secure. We are respecting the most rigorous industry standards,” he said, adding that the system underwent rigorous testing before the rollout.
When asked about clients who may face late fees paying bills because of trouble accessing their banking app, he said: “UNI will make sure there is no loss regarding late fees or penalties or whatever happens in individual cases that is related to this transition.”
He said branches were experiencing higher than normal traffic in part due to people coming in to verify their banking profiles were working as normal.
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He was unable to give a specific timeline on when these issues would be resolved.
He said he expected clients’ current inability to make bill payments at ATMs to be resolved “shortly.”
For other matters, such as employees of UNI’s institutional clients not receiving their pay on time, he said it depended on “the volume of some of these issues that are occuring.”
He said employees of the bank were “working diligently” each day to resolve the matters as soon as possible.
Despite all the challenges, many clients like Jalbert are hesitating to cut ties because of the bank’s cultural importance to the Acadian community.
UNI, formerly known as Caisse populaire acadienne (Acadian Credit Union), has been an Acadian institution since the 1930s.
Jalbert said he considered switching banks but wants to give UNI time to work the problems out.
“It’s unfortunate for the Caisse, I do like the Caisse as a place to do business,” Jalbert said.
“But hopefully they rectify and they actually improve the app and everyone gets to be OK.”
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