NatWest software error repeated twice to compound problems

June 26th, 2012 by Manmohan Leave a reply »

The impact of the NatWest technical failures is still being felt on the 7th day since a software update caused NatWest customers to be unable to receive payments.

It has emerged that the computer programme and software update was being overseen by an IT support team based in India, where the work had been outsourced too.

RBS denies that outsourcing of crucial IT positions has affected their ability to repair the technical problems. The bank has cut 20,000 UK positions since it was bailed out in 2007.

RBS says the problems emanated from a UK-based piece of software, but did not confirm where the workers who are overseeing its implementation are based.

Crucial files were deleted on Tuesday evening when the software update was performed. Reports suggest that this was noticed, but the errors were repeated on both Wednesday and Thursday. The scale of the problem was only noticed on Friday morning.

Troubleshooters were drafted in but found that the transactions that were affected had to be manually entered again in strict order. This is why the backlog has taken so long to clear.

RBS chief executive, Stephen Hester, said yesterday that the technical problems will be taken into account when bonuses for next year are calculated. He is already facing calls for his bonus to be waived.

In a further bizarre consequence of the technical errors a man had to spend the weekend in prison despite being granted bail at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court. He was not allowed out of custody until Monday because his bail payment was not clearly processed.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service said: “Defendants are released on bail once confirmation of the receipt of bail is received. We are aware of only two cases where there was a banking issue.

The problems started last Wednesday after a software update became corrupted and meant that millions of customers could not access their online bank accounts and were unable to transfer money in or out of their bank accounts.

RBS, which owns NatWest, says it has now fixed the problems but still has work to do to clear the backlog of transactions.

It opened around 1,200 branches over the weekend and these will be open from 8am – 6pm this week. NatWest has pledged to refund any charges customers incur as a result of NatWest’s error.

Susan Allen, director of customer services at RBS said: “We will automatically waive any overdraft fees or charges on current accounts. This will be processed over the next few days.”

The problems are slightly more severe for the 100,000 Ulster Bank customers. The repairs are not as advanced and the bank says its technical problems may not be resolved until Friday.

Customers who have received charges or fees as a result of the technical errors are being advised to go to the bank and discuss their situation with a manager at a local branch. Managers will arrange to repay customers who have received charges and incurred costs as a result of the outage.

RBS has also pledged to work with other banks and the Payments Council to ensure no customers incur a black mark on their credit report as a result of missing payments caused by the technical problems.



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