back to article IT MELTDOWN ruins Cyber Monday for RBS, Natwest customers

RBS, Natwest and Ulster Bank customers were hit by an "IT meltdown" on Cyber Monday that stopped card payments, borked ATMs and closed down online banking, leaving them with no way to pay for anything. Problems started around 6.30pm yesterday as folks trying to do their Christmas shopping online and those looking for a few …

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  1. mark1978

    And Kudos to the scammers who quickly turned around a new spam email which asked me to download a utility to verify my account:

    "Dear Card User,

    We urgently wish to inform you that your

    RBS card could not be verify due to some

    systematic error. therefore we urge you to

    download the security file and follow the

    instructions.

    Thank you for choosing RBS

    Royal Bank of Scotland

    "

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Resolved? I think not.

    I transferred a large amount of money to my RBS account yesterday. It's now disappeared. What a fucking joke of a bank.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Resolved? I think not.

      "I transferred a large amount of money to my RBS account yesterday. It's now disappeared"

      Then I suggest you (and all other RBS & Natwest customers) explore the new fast account switching service, ideally to a new banking market entrant or a mutual. Admittedly that doesn't avoid future IT related problems with your new provider, but it does stop rewarding the persistent failure of RBS (or endorsing their unethical behaviours by their "global restructuring group", pushing businesses over the brink to take control of the assets).

      I left RBS in 2007 purely over the unethical behaviours that wiped out my then employer, andI've had no problems at all from Nationwide since then.

      1. John Arthur

        Re: Resolved? I think not.

        +1! I also jumped from the useless Natwest to Nationwide nearly two years ago and have never looked back. And I get free European travel cover.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Resolved? I think not.

          and on top of those, I also get a shitload of adverts of all kinds on my Nationwide accounts pages. Fortunately, careful (key word here :) pruning, i.e. blocking individual frames with adblock plus has made my visits to their spamsite what it should be - nothing spectacular, just... normal.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Resolved? I think not.

        I left a "big four" bank in about 1995 to join a more ethical alternative.... the Co-Operative Bank. Look how that turned out! I am a little bit cynical that there is actually much difference. If your bank (or your utility company, etc) hasn't suffered an IT disaster, financial disaster, ethical disaster etc. yet, then maybe it is now overdue and will be the next to get egg on its face, be caught with its pants down, or run out of money.

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: Resolved? I think not.

          well, coop was new. why not go with something a little more established? like the commenter above pointed out.

          1. Tim J

            Re: Resolved? I think not.

            @NomNomNom (12:15)

            The Co-Op bank was formed in 1872, and became a 'proper' clearing bank in 1975 - so it's not a new entity.

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              @Tim J

              "The Co-Op bank was formed in 1872, and became a 'proper' clearing bank in 1975 - so it's not a new entity."

              Except as fo 2013 it's now 70% owned by a bunch of US Hedge Funds and assorted "High net work" individuals.

              Not really a "co-operative" any more, is it?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Resolved? I think not.

          " I am a little bit cynical that there is actually much difference."

          I think that's a very fair comment. But is that reason enough to stick with poor service or unethical behaviour? If you don't switch then the incompetent or dishonest not only continue with their existing behaviours, but you continue to reward them for it. Better to take a chance, in my view.

          If you look at the state of the energy market, you might easily conclude that the market failings are due to the fact that most customers can't be bothered to switch "because they are all the same", and because of the linked issue of British Gas' dominant market share.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Thumb Up

            @Ledswinger

            If you don't switch then the incompetent or dishonest not only continue with their existing behaviours, but you continue to reward them for it. Better to take a chance, in my view."

            Damm right. thumbs up for saying it.

            I saw a statistic that only 35% of all utility company users switch.

            And I think the proportion of people switching bank accounts is much lower.

            AIUI that's a churn rate mobile phone companies dream of having.

            Any talk about "customer satisfaction" or "Customer service" is basically b**lcks.

            That will only change when customer realize that customer "loyalty" basically means the right of the bank to screw you sideways

            1. DropBear

              Re: @Ledswinger

              Switching...? Bollocks. So who do you switch to - not necessarily in banking but in another industry, where you can count the choices available on one hand - after every single one screwed you over in various ways, quite possibly the same ones, so you don't assume but *know* that they're all *exactly* the same...? How about when you didn't personally tried them all but between you and your mates, there isn't a single choice without its own collection of first-hand horror stories...?

              I don't know if there ever was a time when customer choice actually did have any sway over business practices, but in today's global economy and uniformly lowest-possible-cost maximum-screw-factor service there's exactly f***all anyone and everyone gets to punish / reward / change. There's nowhere to go but from the frying pan into the fire, and the players, safe and secure in that knowledge, ROFL at any customer indignation...

              1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                Unhappy

                @DropBear

                "I don't know if there ever was a time when customer choice actually did have any sway over business practices, but in today's global economy and uniformly lowest-possible-cost maximum-screw-factor service there's exactly f***all anyone and everyone gets to punish / reward / change. There's nowhere to go but from the frying pan into the fire, and the players, safe and secure in that knowledge, ROFL at any customer indignation.."

                And as long as people believe they can make no difference they never will The 35% of utility customers who do switch have made a difference. Look at UK gas & electricity suppliers versus water companies who litteraly don't give a s**t.

                In the UK there is a magazine called "Money Facts." It lists all bank accounts, credit card, mortgage, loan and other financial providers in the UK, and their interest rates and qualifying requirements.

                Yes a lot of them are very similar, but some are not, and the differences can be staggering.

                The system only has a chance of working if customers reward the good and punish the bad.

                If you live in the UK that means you.

                1. phil dude
                  Coat

                  Re: @DropBear

                  The "Bank of Dave" documentary was very interesting as it pointed out that "banks" are actual legal entities in the UK.

                  Banking is not rocket science...

                  P.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Resolved? I think not.

          Why does Cameron think the CoOp deserve an inquiry into their leadership when the City in general are doing far worse? Wrong kind of bankers at the CoOp?

          That aside, look at any survey of banking sector customer satisfaction over the last ten years, maybe more.

          Top two, almost without fail, First Direct (HSBC owned, but mostly not HSBC operated where it matters) and CoOp/Smile.

          There *is* a reason FD are always up there (I'm a longstanding customer, my experience matches the surveys). I'm an occasional CoOp customer too, and whilst I've experienced far worse , in my experience the CoOp simply don't come close to FD. CoOp are, however, streets ahead of e.g. Sandtander (always close to the bottom in the surveys).

          As suggested above, pick a bank with a record of customer satisfaction (no guarantee for the future, but...).

          Then try the fast switch process. What can possibly go wrong ?

          FD are currently offering £100 when you switch to them, and if you choose to leave within 12 months, you get another £100. Small print applies, see

          http://discover.firstdirect.com

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXHckAFMzaw

          1. despun

            Agreed

            Just one person's experience. But 25 years with 1 st. Direct. . Complex personal finances. Their standard non-premium telephone service - 100%.

          2. The Onymous Coward

            Re: Resolved? I think not.

            I've just moved away from First Direct due to their ludicrous new online banking login system and newly-introduced "foreign transaction fee" on Euro-based Visa purchases. Plus the fact that the First Directory extras are largely useless due to terms buried in the policy small print. Nationwide FlexPlus here I come.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Resolved? I think not.

              "I've just moved away from First Direct"

              Fair enough, best of luck. At one point I had accounts with Nationwide and with FD. Following an unresolved multi-thousand-pound foul-up where Nationwide failed to pass on the proceeds of an investment in a timely manner, I am an ex-Nationwide customer.

              "[FD's] ludicrous new online banking login system"

              I still see my chosen username (in full), enter a few characters of their choice (1st, 3rd, 5th,etc)from one password, and another security question. Keylogging not impossible but not immediately useful either. What ludicrousness should I look forward to?

              "newly-introduced "foreign transaction fee" on Euro-based Visa purchases."

              I didn't like it when they dropped Mastercard (some places I travelled to accepted Mastercard everywhere but not always Visa). So I got a Mastercard from somewhere else.

              "First Directory extras are largely useless due to terms buried in the policy small print. "

              May well be true, but amazingly enough I'm happy to pay a few quid a month for UK-based banking I can trust (I've dealt with Santander so I know the impact bad banking can have on me).

              Mind you I don't buy my broadband from race-for-the-gutter suppliers either (hello TalkTalk). Maybe I'm in a minority.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Resolved? I think not.

        @Ledswinger "switch...ideally to a new banking market entrant ..."

        Having worked for several old and new, I'd have to say DO NOT TOUCH a new entrant.

        If you think RBS et al can screw it up, wait until someone who has NO EXPERIENCE has their first major outage. And they will all have a major outage, some sooner than others. Older mutuals at least have some track record in running an IT business. Supermakets?, not so much.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Resolved? I think not.

          "Having worked for several old and new, I'd have to say DO NOT TOUCH a new entrant."

          Each to their own, But I work in a very large customer facing business. We have a strong track record, documented processes, oodles of resource, all of which make our service worse than new entrants and systems less reliable because the new entrants aren't weighed down by vast crappy legacy systems, and hidebound by years of "doing it this way", or a business model built on millking retained customers.

          And in the case of RBS, have you noticed how the IT failures often seem to be ancient legacy code or processes that they no longer know how to operate or support? I have no illusions that new entrants, mutuals, or any other player could have their own IT disaster, but I wouldn't personally equate "new" with "worse".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Resolved? I think not.

            @Leadswinger - Of course the code is old - RBS' first computer was a LEO2, now they won't be running that code, but they will be running the code from their first IBM mainframe, why wouldn't they? They know the code inside out, the problem with the last outage was that the CA7 scheduling staff were let go, not anything to do with not understanding the underlying code.

            If they rewrite the code in, presumably some new flashy language, there will be problems while it beds in.

          2. Mike Richards

            Re: Resolved? I think not.

            I wonder if RBS's issues with IT are down to the multitude of other banks it gobbled up, presumably each with their own special flavour of software?

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              @Mike Richards

              "I wonder if RBS's issues with IT are down to the multitude of other banks it gobbled up, presumably each with their own special flavour of software?"

              Given bank mergers have been (partly) cancelled because they couldn't get the IT systems to mesh (and give that "synergy" management con-sultants like to talk about) I'd say that could be a factor.

              And those integration issues can take years to resolve....

      4. EJ

        Re: Resolved? I think not.

        All the smart money has been moved to Bitcoins.

    2. Deej

      Re: Resolved? I think not.

      After reading this, I thought I ought to check my own RBS account and sure enough, the money that I transferred in yesterday is no longer showing.

      As a result I phoned RBS, who were very apologetic but couldn't help in any way.

    3. fajensen

      Re: Resolved? I think not.

      RBS ... Is that not the bank that is deliberately bankrupting its own customers and buying their assets on the cheap from the receivers?

      Oh Yes, it is:

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/12/ian-fraser-the-financial-terrorism-of-royal-bank-of-scotland.html

      Good luck getting your money back, they probably snorted all of what the hookers left of it already

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Resolved? I think not.

        "RBS ... Is that not the bank that is deliberately bankrupting its own customers and buying their assets on the cheap from the receivers?"

        That is under investigation and very much not proven. In the interests of balance, even Robert Peston said that this is way more complicated than that. For a start the companies that are alleged to have been deliberately failed by MS were already on the rocks and relying upon RBS' support at a time when the bank were under vast amounts of pressure to cut off credit from zombe companies.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Resolved? I think not.

          That is under investigation and very much not proven.

          Read Private Eye - they've been running articles on a number of cases where banks and the big accountancy firms have been putting companies into receivership then selling their assets when it's clear that the companies were viable. In most cases they were only experiencing temporary cash flow problems, often caused by the banks withdrawing long standing lines of credit (funnily enough, that was the original purpose of a bank before they got into exotic investments).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Resolved? I think not.

          ""RBS ... Is that not the bank that is deliberately bankrupting its own customers and buying their assets on the cheap from the receivers?"

          "That is under investigation and very much not proven. "

          Not proven to you perhaps. But I worked for a listed tech company that was put through the mangler by RBS GRG a few years ago, before the credit crunch. It was in difficulties and needed refinancing certainly, but RBS chose to squeeze the trigger, and take control. In rough terms the company had £150m of debt, and an equity value of perhaps £20-70m. By forcing it into administration RBS were able to sell it in a suspect pre-arranged transaction for over £200m. Even over above outrageous "professional advisor" fees from a couple of the big four accunting (sic) firms that I recall totalled about £13m, and £2m of "fees" to a board of RBS placemen for a few months work, RBS made around £40m of profit at the expense of the shareholders and unsecured creditors who got nothing. Other delicious ironies included the appointment of a certain dodgy US investment bank to "sell" the company out of administration, the same bank that had previously been the bookrunner for a bond sale that raised £40m or so from bondholders who saw their cash evaporated.

          All of this has been raised with the chairman of RBS himself ("no, no, wasn't us, you don't understand, maybe sailing close to the wind, that's how capitalism works etc etc"). It has been reported to the City of London Police, to the FSA/FCA (who did nothing), and over two years ago was raised with those useless cretins Cable, Osborne and also the Labour party's various spokesmen. Cable says he hadn't heard anything other than rumours before the Tomlinson report, but Cable is a liar - I have copies of the emails sent to him in my inbox, because I know the complainant.

          Also, you may wish to pay attention to the ad hominem defence that RBS and the government are running. Note the freshly started attempts to discredit Lawrence Tomlinson (eg I understand that there will be an FT article attacking him today - pink paper, not going to offend the banks, is it?). And Cable (fat, useless, old, and evidently working for the 1%) is also distancing himself from Tomlinson.

          You can choose to believe that RBS didn't do this. But the f***ers have been caught with their hand in the till so many times I wonder why anybody in their right mind would not start from a presumption of guilt.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        @fajensen

        "RBS ... Is that not the bank that is deliberately bankrupting its own customers and buying their assets on the cheap from the receivers?

        Oh Yes, it is:"

        This is more ironic than you probably realize.

        Someone did a study on bank ordered bankruptcy in the UK and found a)Banks ordered solvency reports from accountants b)Most reports called for receivership. c)Most receiverships were handled by the accountants who wrote the original report. d) However one bank tendered the receivership work if the accountant said the company was insolvent. That bank had a much lower level of companies in receivership.

        That bank was the RBS, pre Fred the shred.

  3. Crisp

    Again?

    Once? Ok, everyone has the odd hiccup here and there.

    Twice? Really? Well hopefully they've learned their lessons now...

    Again? This is starting to look less like random glitches and more like rank incompetence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Again?

      "This is starting to look less like random glitches and more like rank incompetence."

      Yes, rank incompetence. Let's take 7,500 man years of site knowledge and walk it out the door, since technical skills are the same the world over and you don't really need site knowledge.

      (for anyone who doesn't know, RBS moved ~750 jobs offshore, with those in the UK who were made redundant having on average 10 years experience INSIDE RBS). Bean counters only see bottom line costs - well they'll certainly be seeing how much the offshoring is costing in the delays to remedy the faults, the customer compensation and the FCA fines).

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Again?

        I bet the RBS shareholders are seriously worried about the security of their investment. Oh, hang on....

        1. despairing citizen
          FAIL

          Re: Again?

          sell the assets to other banks, and revoke their license, as they are clearly not a fit and proper organisation.

      2. fajensen

        Re: Again?

        Get with the times: RBS is a "Systemically Important" Bank, this means that it has large, unbreakable, cash-umbilical right to the treasury and is pretty much immune from prosecution too. The taxpayers supplies RBS with capital, it does not need customers at all, in fact customers is the main driver in operating costs! It simply makes sense to drive customers away as much as possible!!

        Systemically-Important banks exists only for the sake of their own importance - exactly as it says on the tin!

  4. Andrew Jones 2

    I'd like to know how this was even possible?

    Surely there is some sort of backup system in place right?

    Reading twitter last night - it would appear that even the call centres were offline - the phones rang - but never got answered.

    They have promised to compensate people that were "left out of pocket" but that doesn't really make me feel better about them - most people were not left out of pocket - because they couldn't actually spend anything in the first place! I do wonder though how people coped at things like self-service petrol stations and the like - are we to be expected to check online-banking and Twitter now before we attempt to use our cards to make sure everything is working? Checking Natwest's online 'Service Status' page last night was pointless because it claimed everything was running normally - leading me (and thousands of people on Twitter) to believe something must have gone wrong with just my account.

    Anyway - I discovered a lovely site last night which instead of just pinging their website, appears to scrape Twitter (and other networks?) to give you the real story - http://downdetector.co.uk/problems/natwest quickly confirmed that it wasn't just me having problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Backup systems

      There are backup systems, of course. However, failing over to a backup system has its own costs and risks, particularly when dealing with the systems which hold things like account information. So it can be perfectly reasonable to decide to try and fix the problem on the current live system rather than fail over to the backup / DR system.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course there are backup systems (by which I presume you mean DR systems) but you don't always want to move to a DR system. RBS is an extremely complex computing environment, probably more complex than most people commenting here can begin to comprehend. There are a lot of reasons that you wouldn't automatically fail over to a DR site, many companies elect to manually fail over so that they know exactly what is happening.

      Here is one scenario where a DR system would potentially take hours to bring up:

      1) Production system fails, let's say by a corrupt filesystem

      2) due to the synchronous replication of the disks the filesystem corruption is instantly replicated to the DR site

      3) The system needs to be taken offline, services/daemons stopped, failed filesystems unmounted etc.

      4) The failed disks are recovered from start of day snapshots

      5) The logs are replayed up to the point of the corruption

      6) The system is checked to make sure that everything is working

      7) It's put back online again.

      That sort of thing takes quite a while.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "RBS is an extremely complex computing environment, probably more complex than most people commenting here can begin to comprehend."

        And evidently more complex than many of the people working there can begin to comprehend, to judge by their history of IT out(r)ages.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          By "history of" you actually mean two. One of which was really bad, the other was a few hours of cards not working, hardly the end of the world, although within RBS it will be an arse-kickings all round type of problem. Cards, ATMs, Mortgages, New account opening and Online (bascially anything customer facing) are considered cardinal sins to take out, even temporarily.

          No one person understands everything at RBS, this was made worse by the redundancies, I know that I took 7 man years of knowledge with me, but that does not mean that they're an incompetent shower as you seem to be suggesting.

          1. Chris Miller

            I always have a good chuckle when someone (usually someone who has no experience of other environments) tries to tell me how unbelievably complex wholesale banking systems are. Fundamentally, they're just subtracting X from account A then adding X to account B and writing a journal record - that's not particularly complex, even for a financial services business. What people generally mean is that these systems are very large, which is true - tens of millions of accounts and tens of millions of transactions a day - but that's a problem of capacity management and scaling, not coding.

            Of course, the banks (like many long-established environments) can make very simple systems into very complex ones by adding layers of new architecture to mask the limitations of old systems (usually old systems that people are afraid to touch because the last person who understood them left 10 years ago). That's understandable, but not something to be particularly proud of.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "they're just subtracting X from account A then adding X to account B and writing a journal record"

              No, no they really aren't. That you snigger about the fact that you think the people working in financial service IT make it sound more complex than it is, then suggest that it's that simple suggests that you have literally no knowledge of the inner workings of a large financial institution.

              1. RC23

                Demand

                To be fair, they're nowhere as intellectually challenging as pensions systems, but they are exceedingly high volume time critical.

                If something goes wrong in a schedule they've become so overloaded demandwise that the impact of failures is way beyond what the original designers conceived.

            2. Steve Todd
              Stop

              @Chris Miller

              You've described a small part of the functionality of a general ledger. That is connected to MANY other systems (for example links to SWIFTNET, FPS, credit management, reporting, direct debits etc.) ONE of those links is to to ATM network. The failure could have been due to anything from network, through hardware, the interaction of existing bugs or release management (though one would hope that they weren't releasing new software on what was expected to be one of the busiest days of the year).

              1. Chris Miller

                @Steve Todd

                Nothing that you or your AC colleague(s?) have said begins to justify the statement that RBS has an: "extremely complex computing environment, probably more complex than most people commenting here can begin to comprehend". The fact that it has links to external systems distinguishes it from every other computer environment - how, exactly?

                I guess it's the BSD syndrome so prevalent in banks that causes those working there to insist that their systems are complex beyond imagination, but that doesn't necessarily make it so. FWIW I had 25 years working in financial services, many of them managing equally (if not more) complex systems. And those systems in turn were far less complex than (say) a complete SAP implementation for a multinational conglomerate.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @Steve Todd

                  "And those systems in turn were far less complex than (say) a complete SAP implementation for a multinational conglomerate"

                  Hmm 'a complete SAP implementation' being one such system in a multitude of others for a large international bank. A nice pretty vendor supplied and run to vendor when things go wrong system, and pretty insignificant one at that in relation to the problem at hand.

                  Comparing SAP to core banking systems - built on layer upon layer of generational in-house development, consolidation, cost cutting, acquisitions, middle-ware layers, protocol wrap ups, across multiple platforms which you really don't find in too many places these days - Mainframe, AS400, VMS, Tandem (and of course integrating with your common old garden variety) UNIX, Linux, Windows and oh 30 + years - is in the nicest possible way, a bit silly.

                  1. Chris Miller

                    Re: @Steve Todd

                    Oh dear, we've got a proper banker here. Completely clueless about the rest of the world, but never wrong ('cos I'm a banker). Have it your way. The rest of us are just far too thick ever to be able to work with your hugely complex systems (for which you're incapable of presenting any evidence). You do have the biggest dick. Congratulations.

                    And they wonder why their systems crash and burn so regularly ...

                    1. Steve Todd
                      FAIL

                      Re: @Steve Todd

                      As it happens I'm an ex-banker. I spent 10 years working for the cash management division of one if the largest investment banks in the world. For 15 years before that I was a contractor, working for everything between a flight booking company through a water utility to the research division of a large pharmaceutical company. I think I'm pretty well qualified to say what is or isn't a complicated environment.

                      The high level system diagram of the bank's IT environment ran to a page of A2 IIRC, and that was with a small font. They had a whole system responsible just for cataloging the systems that they had, the technologies that they used, the systems that they connected to and their level of compliance with IT rules.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: @Steve Todd

                      I expect your mind is made up but, as someone who has worked for retail banks and also in other large organisations: yes, they are complicated, very complicated. Remember this is not only a bank, its a bank which has eaten and partly, but only partly, digested the IT systems of a number of other banks, leaving the kind of semi-maintainable mess you would expect. I don't think they *need* to be anything like as complicated as they are, but I also think organisations like RBS, in particular, find it very hard to simplify things while keeping it all working.

                      1. Anonymous IV

                        Re: @Steve Todd

                        Regardless of the argument about whether banking IT systems are complicated or not (I would prefer to call them "multiply-interfaced"), is it not the case that we have quite a number of banks other than RBS/Nat West/Ulster Bank whose systems seem to be much more reliable? Cue the people badly affected by the current débacle moving across...

                        Over the past dozen years, at least, RBS management has done a very thorough job of "wrong-sizing" by getting rid of the people who knew how their IT systems worked.. This policy works fine - until such point that something nasty goes wrong. At present nobody even seems to know exactly what has gone wrong, and the response was presumably simply to "turn everything off and on again"...

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: @Steve Todd

                        "I don't think they *need* to be anything like as complicated as they are, but I also think organisations like RBS, in particular, find it very hard to simplify things while keeping it all working."

                        So we're agreed it *is* the fault of RBS management past and present. In fact they've admitted as much in the press. Whilst we and they talk of "IT" failures, this is actually a failure of their core business, which is keeping transactions flowing and accounts balances correct through IT. Instead, the dogf*ckers who manage RBS have considered IT as an evil necessity, a support service, to be done as cheaply and nastily as possible. And meanwhile they have persuaded themselves that casino banking and reckless lending are the core purpose of the bank. In my view even regular "high street" lending isn't really the core business of the bank, it is simply a by product of holding account balances of savers and depositers, and sitting on funds whilst they clear.

                        Somewhile back one of the Reg articles referred to banking's core business as being an IT operation with a financial services business attached. That's self evidently been proven by RBS who chose to believe the opposite, and in which form it doesn't work very well. Will RBS admit their incompetence, bring IT back in house, onshore, properly designed and resilient? Somehow I think not, they'll just do the usual, in the form of unbelievably expensive sticking plasters that won't cure the underlying failings.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or simply: They did not have any money in their accounts so they have to wait until salaries and pensions are deposited? In Denmark we experience a "bank IT problem day" just about every third month *always* on payday!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The company I work for had a very large money transfer in yesterday. It's disappeared. Our finance guy is probably bald by now.

    1. deadlockvictim

      or..

      or lying back on the beach earning 20%...

  6. Tom_

    Did they just roll back to the previous day's data?

    It's shocking that people have seen money go missing. I mean, being unable to use your credit card or withdraw cash is obviously bad, but you can get around that by keeping credit cards from more than one provider. Seeing your wages vanish is another thing entirely.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did they just roll back to the previous day's data?

      Agreed on multiple bank accounts. This has saved me on a number of occasions.

      1. despairing citizen
        Big Brother

        Re: Agreed on multiple bank accounts

        forget multiple bank accounts, it's starting to look like stuffing money under the matress is the most secure option

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did they just roll back to the previous day's data?

      The money won't be "missing" if they have rolled back, they will be scheduling an end of day batch to catch up, not all of these systems are "online" many are batch driven.

  7. sugerbear

    ... because you can run a bank on a shoestring budget with all your development out of India.

    1. Christoph

      It might almost make you think that getting rid of all your most experienced (and therefore most expensive) IT staff is a bad idea!

      1. John G Imrie
        Meh

        It might almost make you think that getting rid of all your most experienced (and therefore most expensive) IT staff is a bad idea!

        Nah!! - Been-counter general, RBS

  8. Stuart 22 Silver badge

    STOP complaining and be thankful

    Just think how much worse it would have been if the management had not been so extremely incentivised to reward their brilliant work in serving their customers ... or even their stockholders!

  9. Callum

    are there any UK techs left who might want to mention what happened? obviously, anonymously. Having had previous at RBS, i just can't figure out what batch or online process could cause such a widespread problem and why the business continuity processes didn't kick in. Sounds horrific.

  10. Smallbrainfield

    It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

    I've read some horror stories that suggest some of it is built on very very old hardware indeed.

    1. Eek

      Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

      Suggests..... That was just careful phrasing.

      I think just about the only bank I would trust nowadays is HSBC.... I've heard enough scare stories about the others that I wouldn't go there. That is not to say HSBC are any better it may be that they are competent or it could be that they don't employ people who frequent the same network of contacts I have...

    2. NomNomNom

      Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

      Of course, it'll be a smogasbord of legacy code, built up through a dozen deadmarch projects spanning decades, held together with hope and fear. Can't go under it, can't go over it, can't rewrite it, have to bodge through it. Management and marketing will demand ever ambitious new features be bolted on top to match what they see on their IPads. Why can't our system intercommunicate using Twitter? Come on you lazy ass developers, I want a system upgrade pushed through tonight.

    3. Velv
      Boffin

      Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

      There's nothing wrong with old hardware, or old software, as long as you have the processes and skills in place to maintain it and fix it.

      Upgrades are often the cause of outages, so if it ain't broken, why rush to fix it (subject to statement 1)..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

      Very new hardware, quite old software (in terms of custom code.)

    5. An0n C0w4rd

      Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

      I've not seen any indication of hardware failure in these incidents. It's all process or software related.

      When I opened a bank account with RBS in my local branch in 2003 I found their office computers were running OS/2 (the banking app that the guy was using to open the account crashed and I saw the desktop). I suspect that's because the backend was an IBM mainframe and they were using one of the proprietary IBM communication protocols. The desktops (and ATMs, which also ran OS/2 for the same reason) have all been upgraded. You can see the result of the ATM upgrades on flickr and other photo sharing sites - Windows error boxes all over the place.

      The backends? To be honest I'd probably trust a 20+ year old IBM mainframe that's under a proper support contract than I would a lot of the newer gear and newer OSs.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

      You wouldn't believe what's being run on "very very old hardware" in this country! In fact, you'd be scared if you did know!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

        You wouldn't believe what's being run on "very very old hardware" in this country!

        Bits of the London Underground still run on DEC Vax hardware - the real thing, not emulated - they've even been known to buy spare parts from eBay.

        1. John 98

          Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

          And bits of network Rail rely on Victorian cast iron. One bright young man has even proposed computerised signalling, but with the safety interlocking handled by said Victorian iron - cheaper and maybe safer than trying to do it in software.

  11. NomNomNom

    OH NO I CANT SPEND MY LIFE POINTS ON INTERNET THINGS

  12. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    I can understand fresh transactions being declined if there were IT problems. But how could already committed transactions suddenly disappear?

    Enquiring minds wish to know.

    1. NomNomNom

      maybe they rolled back to try and revert whatever changes were made and lost some recent transactions in the process, like nuclear option.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds very much like they intentionally denied everyone access to their accounts because of screw up with a batch process.

    3. itzman

      But how could already committed transactions suddenly disappear?

      Easy. Your database goes tits up. You have a backup, you have a transaction file.

      You stop the system, fix the problem, you revert to backup, and then tonight you will roll the transaction log forward and reinstate all the transactions you just erased. Probably duplicating the error that was originally made that cased the thing to crash...

  13. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I've never had any trouble...

    ... with Coutts Private Office.

    But I accept that it may not be suitable for everyone.... :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've never had any trouble...

      ... who are RBS

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've never had any trouble...

      I've never had any trouble ... with Coutts Private Office.

      A whistle blower recently exposed large money laundering at Coutts, along the same lines as HSBC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've never had any trouble...

        One would hope they launder the money, oiks have touched it

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    while I understand the sentiment...

    I really would, if, say, had I been waiting in the supermarket check out queue for 10 min, scanned the items, swept the card and then - bang: fuck off... I would still wish to point out, that it wasn't a calamity, a disaster or planet-wide tsunami that wasted 4 mln lives. Nothing anything of that type, just a 24 hr or so RBS failure (or fuckup, depending on how much you dislike RBS) - and the world moves on. So please, people, stop being hysterical, it's only Tuesday.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: while I understand the sentiment...

      " So please, people, stop being hysterical, it's only Tuesday."

      How about "no"?

      It's two thousand and f***ing thirteen. Expecting one of the world's largest banks, backed by the entire largesse of the state, located in one of the most technically advanced nations on the planet to offer a reliable and continuous service is unreasonable is it?

      In this rotten, festering POS bank there are about one hundred people paid over a million quid a year. And every year they are on the hook for something new - manipulating LIBOR, wilfully bankrupting business customers, mis-selling PPI for donkeys years, mis-selling interest rate swaps to SME's, misleading investors during the cash call before seeking a state rescue. And then there's the reason WHY the f***ers are owned by the state to be taken into account.

      Face it: RBS & Natwest are useless. Has any other bank had repeated large scale screwups of customer service? Has any other bank been as routinely associated with incompetence, deviousness, dishonesty and fraud?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: while I understand the sentiment...

        Did RBS kill your puppy?

        You're going totally off the deep end.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: while I understand the sentiment...

      Inside knowledge - one UK retailer attempted ~300,000 transactions during a three hour affected period, and ~120,000 were declined by RBS group.

      Standing at a supermarket till is one thing - you can walk away from the goods - what if you've just filled your car with petrol... "Hello Mr Police Officer, I have no idea why my bank card has been rejected, and no I don't carry a second payment method"

      The world has come to expect banks to work always. Perhaps they all need a bit more down time. (I remember the days they were open Monday to Friday 09:30-12:00 and 13:30-15:30). If you didn't get to the bank before half three then it was next day before you ate.

    3. Natwest Customer 42 Years Very Unhappy

      Re: while I understand the sentiment...

      really no there are worst things but what has happened to some of us wellmlots of us has massive ongoing issues so if you want to kindly f off yourself and get back in the queue and scan yourself through the check out get in the bag and tie it up as tight as you can. idiot. how about making a online application for a loan for whatever reason they have nine applications on my account within minutes of each other which causes massive issues forget that the reason I required the loan and went for the 24 hr funds transfer in order to make a purchase that I will potentially now loose, but it ok I am still alive, but NatWest have carried out nine credit checks because that doesn't have any major implications.

      really it has caused massive issues for hundreds and thousands. and the question is why? and not thank goodness it not a massive hurricane, or tsunami. but just ask yourself who will foot the bill for this little tiny little hiccup according to you.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know I shouldnt laugh, but twitter was far more entertaining than anything on TV last night because of this.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here we go again

    Yet again the 'two pay days away from bankruptcy" brigade are out in force they can't use their electronic money because they have no cash. Sort it out! You've had since 2008....

  17. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    Who's stolen our flag?

    Britain's (quite clearly NOT Great Britain's any more) flagship economic sector is supposed to be banking.

    But if we are so good at fucking this sector up, what hope is there? Anything else we are good at?

    Looking forward to the rest of the 21st century -- we're all doomed. :-(

    1. Anthony Cartmell
      Coat

      Re: Who's stolen our flag?

      "Great Britain" means "the larger Britain", "Lesser Britain" being roughly the same place as Normandy these days. Nothing to do with greatness, sadly.

  18. SirDigalot

    Its only money

    The tax payer will...oh, yeah, haha! I see what you did there...

    so I should send a note to the bank saying, "due to an unintentional IT related incident, I will not be able to pay my mortgage/loan this month, but am working to resolve the issue"

    I am sure they will be absolutely peachy with that.

    when you put more focus on profits than infrastructure of any kind, bad things eventually happen.

    I wonder if anyone made a living crap ton of money from this "mistake", there usually is someone somewhere who does

    1. Velv
      Mushroom

      Re: Its only money

      "so I should send a note to the bank saying, "due to an unintentional IT related incident, I will not be able to pay my mortgage/loan this month, but am working to resolve the issue"

      I am sure they will be absolutely peachy with that."

      Err, yes, they will be absolutely peachy. Because you've already agree that if you pay them late you'll also pay them compensation (interest and late fees). And RBS have already confirmed they will do this in reverse for anyone who was affected - what part of COMPENSATION WILL BE PAID did you not understand.

      1. John G Imrie

        COMPENSATION WILL BE PAID

        So all Wonga/RBS customers should forward their correspondence to the boss of RBS to explain why they missed the payment on their loans.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Its only money

        what part of COMPENSATION WILL BE PAID did you not understand."

        They have not offered compensation. They have said they will refund people who are "out of pocket" due to the problems. I doubt they will be paying compensation for the embarrassment of having a transaction refused, especially if you just filled up £60-70 worth of petrol and are standing at the till.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Its only money

          "I doubt they will be paying compensation for the embarrassment of having a transaction refused, especially if you just filled up £60-70 worth of petrol and are standing at the till."

          Sorry but there is a reason cards are still embossed with raised characters. Can you guess why? Thought not.

  19. arthvr

    downdetector is down - oh the humanity!

  20. dotdot

    Failed sla ...

    A 3 hr non scheduled outage , takes rbs into failed SLA country , which will result in a full explanation to the FSA.

    The previous breach would have resulted in a similar report. (What a mess that was)

    This time the same excuse or failure will not be thought of as a 'moving forward' situation.

    Mindful of the steps detailed earlier , whilst generally they are correct , the issue here may focus on time to determine issue then fix , of a sufficiently detailed nature.

    Outsource or no outsource , I have no doubt the root cause is known to RBS already.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Failed sla ...

      "which will result in a full explanation to the FSA."

      Following the musical chairs the took the FSA away and made the FCA, I'd wager there's little continuity in enforcement.

  21. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Joke

    Thank goodness Alex Salmond has is going to rid us of the Royal Bank of Scotland after Scottish independence.

    What? He doesn't want it?

  22. Maharg
    Facepalm

    Completely unrelated statements...

    1) RBS cut hundreds of experienced IT staff and outsourced to India in late 2010 in a cost saving exercise.

    2) Online job advert in India, February 2012

    "Urgent Requirement by RBS."

    Looking for candidates having 4-7 years of experience in Batch Administration using CA7 tool,"

    (CA-7 is a batch processing system, which deals with the movement of money in and out of accounts).

    3) In June 2012 RBS managed to have thousands of transactions to the sum of millions of £££s not happen, this was apparently due to an issue with a CA-7 tool update.

    4) RBS has had IT f̶u̶c̶k̶ ̶u̶p̶s̶ "issues" every 10 months since late 2010 that has so far cost them millions of £££s

    According to RBS these are completely unrelated.

  23. Steve 57

    Another offshored error?

    Id be very curious to know if this 'temporary issue' was caused by an outsourced team like last time?

    If there are any in-house IT guys left with this bank maybe they can spill the beans?

    1. Annihilator Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Another offshored error?

      It wasn't an "outsourced" issue last time. "outsource" <> "offshore"

  24. DB2DBA

    Appear to be two problems here

    First was a failure that blocked customer access to their accounts, then secondly a failure in recovering from the first failure, highlighted by the loss of (what should have been) previously committed transactions (i.e. recent credits are missing. Is anyone missing debits?) As a major mainframe user RBS is likely to be running one or both of IBM's DBMSes, IMS or DB2. The hallmark of these systems is data integrity with recoverabilty. Expertise however in using them is still a necessity no matter how advanced the system becomes. The loss of data shows that this skillset may be lacking at RBS.

  25. Nile

    Y'all still reading, this far down the comments?

    Some of this is complete cobblers. Some of it isn't, and you should read earlier El Reg threads on similar RBS screwups over the past two years.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/07/rbs_natwest_hardware_outage/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/26/rbs_natwest_ca_technologies_outsourcing/

    http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=RBS&results_per_page=20&sort=date&site=&psite=0&page=3

    Some of those comment threads have the ring of truth; not just 'too close for comfort' but spot-on, detailed analysis and explanation from people with first-hand knowledge.

    I choose not to say which is which - and I make it *quite* clear that all that I say online is my own opinion and does not express the views of my employers or clients, past and present - but the comedy gold and the common-or-garden-cobblers is mixed in with dangerously-accurate commentary.

    ...Which will probably trigger some scary correspondence from Sue Grabbitt and Runne.

    In the USA, those dangerously-accurate commentators would be testifying to the OCC - the USian equivalent of The Bank of England's oversight committee - and a bank in RBS' position would be facing nine-digit fines, resignations of executives with bans from ever working again in banking, and a monitored regime of supervised compliance and systems remediation under a 'Consent Order', backed up with a credible threat of license withdrawal and the forced sale of the retail banking arm.

    How fortunate we are in England, that our regulators merely have to hint of such a thing - so quietly that ordinary citizens barely hear it - and that the managers of RBS Nat West are such models of impeccable rectitude and technical competence that those vulgar American regulatory intrusions are unneccessary here. Thus, every citizen and business in the Kingdom rests assured that such a thing can never happen; that the consequences are quietly and competently being dealt with behind the scenes; and that this will never, ever happen again.

    ...And if, after reading that, the learned gentlemen of Messrs Sue, Grabbit & Runne* come asking for the names of those dangerous commentators, I will point them straight at the first mention of Paris Hilton: obvious satire does not constitute an actionable libel.

    .

    .

    *Actually, it's some bloke called Futter-Crack, or Frotter-Cluck...Fotty-Sticker? Dear me, my memory these days... Something like that. A rum lot with a talent for intimidating letters and clients wiith very, very deep pockets who can litigate you into destitution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's Cluster-Fuck, aka Carter Ruck. And they do like a ruck, so I'm told.

  26. bigphil9009

    I hope this is OK, but I'm reposting "thesykes" fantastic comment on the original story. I think this is one of the best comments ever made on this forum and probably as equally appropriate here:

    To me, there are two trains of thought that exist in management.

    Train A goes something like: We employ 1,000 IT staff and, because of this, all our systems run smoothly.

    Train B, however, goes: All our systems run smoothly, why do we need 1,000 IT staff?

    Unfortunately, it's standing room only on Train B, whereas Train A has been cancelled due to lack of demand and a bus replacement service is now in operation.

  27. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Every affected customer...

    ..should write to their bank complaining about non-payment of funds and charge £25 for the letter.

    Failure of the bank to pay said "fine" ought to result in an investigation into unfair contract terms. After all, a "fair" contract is supposed to fairly allocate risks and responsibilities, not place all the risks onto one side.

  28. Zacherynuk

    As part owner* is said business I would like to issue to you my sincerest apologetic words.

    But I won't. It wasn't our fault. They made us slip in these black boxes into every cabinet**. and things went pete tong from there on in.

    * as a tax payer

    ** as a conspiracy theorist

  29. David 45

    Hide the dosh!

    Seems safer stuffing it in the mattress!

  30. Cokezero

    Conjecture at the moment, but the technical explanation im hearing is that an amended cics program went live last night, failed, and crashed cics. Batch probably couldnt start or had started and things needed forward recovery. I may well be off the mark, but hopefully this will get the ball rolling. They are fucking hopeless.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      WTF?

      @Cokezero

      " and crashed cics."

      WTF?

      CICS is core IBM system software. It sounds very hard to believe a single rogue app can take down the whole subsystem.

      The application definitely. An instance on a processor, maybe. But everything?

  31. ex RBS employee
    Holmes

    Redundancies

    I used to work at RBS. They made me redundant in 2010 even thought they thought I was knowledgeable and useful. I worked in Group and oversaw several divisions of activity.

    They are currently working very hard to make even more knowledgeable and useful people redundant.

    I expect the remaining hamsters will be very busy trying to keep the wheels turning (if they can even recall which wheels they need to keep turning).

    My advice - move your business elsewhere unless RBS management focus on staff (and I DO NOT mean the overpaid banker boys on Bishopsgate) and they are better respected and looked after. After all, how do people focus on the day job when they are busy filling in job applications and being interviewed just to keep their current jobs ?

    As Homer would say... "Doh!!"

  32. Nigel Steward
    FAIL

    Systems STILL down on Wednesday 4th December

    I despair - I have just tried to access my NatWest account at 02:15 on Wednesday 4th & the system IS STILL DOWN.

    I have trying to book international transportation & accommodation for later this month for two days now.

    I haven't suffered financial loss, but may find hotels etc.. fully booked by the time the system is restored - what compensation can I expect?

  33. codeusirae
    Facepalm

    Why the RBS computer keeps saying no ..

    "The current RBS malfunction is only the latest of these incidents, in which irate customers are left stranded at the supermarket checkout, or at the petrol station, or at the cash machine, because the RBS computer says no even when there are adequate funds in the account" ..

    "The Goodwin model was based on a simple and superficially brilliant idea, that the main functions of the new group would be centralised and .. All fine if the centralised systems are good enough and enjoy sufficient investment" ... link

  34. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Was it Dominic Oconnor who said "Banks are IT companies with banking license" ?

    Yes I think it was.

    UK clearing bank software is big.

    Historically the previous job of the IBM team that built the real time version of OS/360 for the Apollo programme (and its apps software) was writing software for UK high street banks. IIRC that's where they got their change management lessons from as well.

    Banks (much like the civil service) don't want to re-write software because it a)May introduce new bugs in perfectly working software (or break workarounds to the existing bugs) and b)Gives them no benefits.

    They "acrete" new systems around it to deliver new funtionality. Historically Unix (lot of RS6000 and Sun), then Windows server, now probably Linux.

    Multiple hardware platforms x Multiple applications x Multiple languages --> Opportunity for massive clusterf**k.

    BTW there used to be a bank-in-a-box packaged for the AS400/iSeries than could pretty much handle all banking needs for foreign banks in the UK, but I'm not sure what it's counter support was like. If it was OK then a new UK bank could be money + iSeries + banking license + office + staff.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ex-RBS guy

    >> Conjecture at the moment, but the technical explanation im hearing is that an amended cics program went live last night, failed, and crashed cics. Batch probably couldnt start or had started and things needed forward recovery. I may well be off the mark, but hopefully this will get the ball rolling. They are fucking hopeless. <<

    Sounds about right. The main account system is called CAUSTIC, it has an interface called NAP that is based on CICS. (Just to answer a previous question, RBS uses DB2).

    Not surprised really. From what I hear moral is rock bottom. Constant performance reviews, stretch objectives and bell curves. Nuff said.

    Anyone competent has already left or been made redundant.

  36. Natwest Customer 42 Years Very Unhappy

    42 yrs a NATWEST Customer.This massive error kept quiet

    I have been having ongoing issues with a online personal loan that we had been trying to take out since 15th Oct 2013, but despite receiving a loan agreement at 8.9% and signing it with my husband. I didn't hear a thing, no confirmation of receipt of application / loan agreement from online application ( meant to be easy and stress free) Today I got some really disturbing info. as the original loan they didn't process because they didn't have my husbands details only mere details such as DOB etc, !! so main details, and this they realised after 42 years. so had to go into bank to prove who my husband on our joint account was him, despite him conducting transactions for 42 years, sighing cheques, setting up direct debits, receiving his pension monthly. he was not on the account formerly ??, this was bad enough.

    Then what happened after this has caused the most stress ever and I have had three children and four grandchildren and three great grand children. I was a fully qualified teacher, and despite being 75 and I very active and sports coach at high level. so after trying to reapply over the phone and they. couldn't do it as they couldn't bring up my husband details still. this was last Thursday 28th Nov, the assistant did say she not sure it may be her system, well how right she was.

    So I waited to complete a online internet customer banking application, which I was advised to do by the customer services member of staff this I tried on Friday 29th Nov 2013, I logged into my online account to complete a application as this way the monies would be in account within 24hrs and this was applied for nearly two months ago, and to purchase a upgrade of a caravan which we may lose this great great deal if not sorted soon.

    Anyway I attempted to complete a online application but got stuck and frozen at the same stage which was the finance input stage which did not complete any information in this and wouldn't even move on, and there were I believe at least two more stages to complete after this. I gave it one hour on this same page to see if it was just really slow but it did nothing just showed the egg timer which is meant to show it is working. but after a hour it would suggest that the page had a issue. so I logged out and closed down. Now I attempted this a few times due to the urgency of the matter, on most of the occasions it stated error on page and got stuck/frozen completely on the same stage where the finances should have been entered in. But just froze completely.

    Therefore I had to log out without being able to complete it at all, then came out of my internet banking, and just got so fed up with it freezing on this same page and it showing the error symbol on the page, that I knew annoyingly would have to make a normal online application which takes longer as not entirely electronic and have to await agreements etc.

    well I did some more waiting again and in the meantime I saw the news and thought how lucky I was that I had not been affected, well at least I though I hadn't, I called to day after placing complaints in and waiting for someone to return this call. I spoke to someone eventually after 2hrs trying to get through, to the wrong number that the web chat assistance had gave me and I did question three times I did not thin it was right he became quite rude and insisted it was, so who am I. I called the number and after one and a half. a hours of being on hold guess what I got through and guess what it was the wrong number? eventually I got to someone who eventually said he could?d look at my application, on doing so he said which one do you want me to look at. well I thought maybe he was just talking about the original application and the one they couldn't complete over the phone.

    Well I got the shock of my life when he said well there are nine applications . who would do that anyway, it doesn't increase your chances but in fact the opposite. well if that wasn't bad enough I explained their computer online system was playing up, but no they didn't believe it was that despite all

    what has been now going on, and it started before Monday and more likely Thursday as advisor was having issues with her systems then.

    but basically said that I must have done it, because I am 75 they think that I an denial. who in their right kind would complete nine applications? I am still extreme!y upset and distressed that they even tried to put this onto me the customer, knowing they had major computer issues. And why they hadn't identified this issue with all their online services.

    what really concerns me is that none of the applications didn't even complete as they froze or timed out or error messages came up . but the worrying thing how could they have these applications when there were still around three stages to complete as a online application form. and more importantly we didn't give any online computer signature or check any boxes which just as a wild stab in the dark, would be on the very last page !!

    ( BUT I AM 75 SO MAYBE I COULD BE REALLY SILLY AND GONE THROUGH THESE LAST PAGES WHICH DIDNT COME UP AS IT FROZE ON MY FINANCES PAGE. AND MAYBE I AM COMPLETELY STUPID AND COMPLETED AND SIGNED NINE OF THEM NOT REALISING. I MEAN REALLY WHAT DID THEY THINK I THOUGHT THAT THAT I WAS DOING THE LOTTERY AND BY ENTERING MORE WOULD GIVE ME A BETTER CHANCE. I KNOW THAT WOULD HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT. SO NOW THEY HAVE SCREWED ME COMPLETELY. EVEN THOUGH IT SHOULD JUST HAVE GONE THROUGH NEARLY TWO MONTHS AGO. IF THEY HADN'T HAD ERRORS. THIS IS THE WHOLE FAMILY IT AFFECTS AS CHANCES ARE IF THEY EVER DO TRY AND SORT it OUT THE CARAVAN WILL PROBABLY BE LONG GONE.

    And now I am really concerned as to what they have done to my credit score which was perfect. Talk about ruin someone's future. I am so distressed I had to share it, and have a very upset granddaughter and grandchildren and great grand children as now looks like NATWEST have ruined everything for a entire three generations of family. first time I asked anything of the bank never even used a overdraft facility or anything.

    Thank you for spoiling our Christmas. THE JONES FAMILY

    Mr & Mrs L I E Jones

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 42 yrs a NATWEST Customer.This massive error kept quiet

      How awful.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 42 yrs a NATWEST Customer.This massive error kept quiet

        You've been prevented from buying a caravan? Speaking on behalf of Jeremy Clarkson, and every other irrate motorist who's ever been stuck behind your wretched contraptions, THANK FECK FOR THAT!

  37. Santa from Exeter
    FAIL

    NatWest FAIL

    My partner has been very inconvenienced by this but, as she wasn't left financially out of pocket, will pobably not get a bean. She works away from home and, as of last night, she was still unable to withdraw any money from her NatWest account. This didn't mean that she starved, as a work colleague loaned her some cash but she is still unsure if she will be able to pay her hotel bill and had a sleepless night because of it. Thanks a bunch RBS you useless bunch of overpaid 'Bankers'

  38. Wize

    So,

    this is nothing to do with Doctor Who being filmed in Jamaica?

  39. Truth4u

    It's impossible for the Bitcoin system to go down

    it's the first perfect system, it has been released into the wild and it will run forever. It's unhackable.

    Only a nuclear war can take it down now and that would be long after your flesh had burnt off from the flash.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame someone else!!!

    RBS outsourced their communications infrastructure management to Accenture some four years ago. Accenture broke the supply chain, kept the incumbents and told them to sharpen their prices. Bingo! Accenture deliver Year one savings!! Yippee! Shame is, no innovation, no evolution and the old kit just gets more expensive to recover when it breaks - esp on high capacity days.

    The solution, make Outsource vendors pay for failures by lighting up their names and ensuring they are contractually bound to deliver transformation, not just transition!

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