back to article RBS sticks it to customers once again as IT woes continue

RBS customers are continuing feel the fall-out from the bank's IT disaster last week which led to 600,000 customer transactions going missing, The Register can reveal. While outstanding payments now appear to have been restored to users' accounts, some customers are reporting on-going issues when attempting to switch from RBS …

  1. hplasm
    Black Helicopters

    Won't all of these cock-ups

    drop the share price to a suspiciously low level.

    Just before the Govt sells them off...

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Ready to help - yes

      Willing to help - maybe

      Able to help - no

  3. LucreLout


    Where on earth is the regulator in all of this?

    Seriously, get the IT back on shore and get it sorted out properly. This has long passed the point of cost cutting and has now simply defrayed RBS IT costs onto their customers.

    Offshoring is cheap because it is low quality: When it stops being low quality it will stop being cheap. How is it that management and the regulator STILL don't grasp that? Too many MBAs?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Regulator??

      Why does the regulator have to be involved - that's what the market is for.

      RBS has crap service, it will lose customers and so will have to drop prices until it reaches a point where it attracts customers.

      1. LucreLout

        Re: Regulator??@YAAC

        Why does the regulator have to be involved - that's what the market is for

        Generally I agree with your sentiments.

        However, banking is a regulated activity. Banks, whether they like it or not are ALL now technology companies that take deposits/make trades/etc: They are not the branch network; they are not the physical vault.

        Having the FCA, PRA, and BoE regulate the behavioural side of the industry will only get you so far. Eventually someone needs to look at regulating what the banks do, and what they do is technology. While you'll only find a handful of CEOs expressing that view, and none acting as if they really believe it, but its time the regulators woke up to the fact.

      2. Mark 65

        Re: Regulator??

        @YAAC: Unfortunately the market normally offers the solution long after some poor bastard has lost the shirt off of his back. I would argue that major shareholders (UK Gov etc) have an interest in forcing their hand from the port of diminishing shareholder value as does the regulator from the point of ensuring the continuance and stability of the retail banking sector. Having this bunch of arse-clowns regularly fuck up because of their pound shop IT setup is completely unacceptable.

        You may also wish to note the article mentions that switch forms cannot be processed.

    2. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: Regulator??

      If it's Direct Debit, complain to BACS.

      I went to remortgage a few years ago and as soon as the existing mortgage provider knew I was moving they stopped collecting my direct debits and reporting me to Experian. I complained to BACS and explained what had happened - and significantly, when it had happened - and my mortgage vendor very quickly decided to change my credit file to say I'd made my three payments on time.

      I complained again a few years later over council tax direct debits going AWOL - again, their cockup (this time they were collecting them, but not crediting them against our account). I was later told that BACS threatened them with losing the ability to take direct debits if they didn't sort it out...

    3. Securitymoose

      Re: Regulator??

      Are you serious suggesting that any of the people in charge have MBAs? Actually one has, but he's only just joined and hasn't had time yet to exert any influence. No, this is all another consequence of sacking experienced UK staff and moving the jobs offshore.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Regulator??

        Spot the odd one out...

        Lord Stevenson, former chairman, HBOS Bank

        Andy Hornby, former CEO, HBOS Bank

        Sir Fred Goodwin, former CEO, RBS Bank

        Sir Tom McKillup, former chairman, RBS Bank

        John McFall MP, former chairman, Treasury Select Committee

        Alistair Darling, former Chancellor of the Exchequer

        Sir Terry Wogan, former presenter of the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show

        It’s Terry Wogan, the only one with a banking qualification.

  4. Annihilator Silver badge


    So, they claim they'll make sure no-one's out of pocket. But will they fix the trail of credit reporting problems? Hint - they can't.

    Scenario: mortgage payment from RBS current account to Santander mortgage goes awol (or rather, payment into RBS current account means that direct debit to Santander mortgage bounces). Santander report to Experian et al that you've missed a mortgage payment. RBS can't correct that notification, only Santander can. Trying to get them to actually do that on RBS' say-so will be a fricking nightmare, and down to the customer to do.

    1. I_am_Chris

      Re: Consequence

      If the rest of your credit report is clean, then one 'missed' payment is going to have minimal effect. If it's not, then that's hardly RBS's fault.

      Point taken about how Santander can't/won't change report due to RBS's cock-up, though.

      1. LucreLout

        Re: Consequence

        If the rest of your credit report is clean, then one 'missed' payment is going to have minimal effect

        If you work in finance you're expected to have a clean credit record. The effect of not having same will be missed employment opportunities (how many is certainly debateable, but it'll be a number larger than zero).

        Santander/others may not back out the record on the customers say so, but they certainly will if RBS meet any perceived costs of the late payment to the lender. Its one of those few problems that are genuinely rectifiable with money.

      2. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Consequence

        Frankly Santander screwed up my credit rating by refusing to take several payments sent to them and then reporting it as my fault. And still haven't/ won't make the correction.

        Of course the mistake was made by having anything to do with Santander in the first place... their 'security'.... name on the account, account number, address (look on a stolen statement for all of these), single or joint (50/50 and as many re-goes as you need) and then the killer... what was the last cash withdrawal/ payment/ transaction.... well, if you are like my dad and keep all paper it is in the stolen wallet with everything else, if like me you don't take the slips then it is a matter of your memory...

        The approach is neither sensible nor secure and basically is a good reason to scrap any account with them before you are robbed blind.

    2. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

      Re: Consequence

      Already happened to me but in the 1980s so cannot pin this on anymodern IT foul ups. In short - after me chasing Natwest for step by step detail; some minion in the Natwest branch had transposed two numbers in my Abbey account reference and sent money elsewhere. Apparently they 'hand entrerd/typed' through the standing order payments from accounts! Still took the customer to badger and investigate 'lost' payment though.

      What was then, is now, (and probably always will be).

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Consequence

        Many years ago, Girobank once processed a cheque for £1000.00 (one thousand pounds) paid into one of my accounts as £10.00 (ten pounds), even though the cheque was correctly filled in, both words and numbers.

        It took about two weeks for them to fix it after I spotted it, because they had to retrieve the original cheque from the document archive. In the meantime, £990 of my money was in limbo, having been taken from the source account but not appearing in the destination account.

        They did refund all of the failed transaction charges, and fortunately, the mortgage company accepted that this was not my fault, and did not post a black-mark. Another fortunate thing was that this was the only direct debit from that account.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Consequence

      If Santander or any credit company are reporting you for a single missing payment, then you need a better bank, most won't report until at least 3 missed payments.

      1. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: Consequence

        All banks report everything to Experian on a monthly basis. Generally it's minimum balance, max balance, on-time payments. It's not for the reporting bank (or Experian) to judge what is good or bad, just have the facts. The company that subsequently read the report are the ones who choose how to judge that behaviour. You're thinking about referring to debt collection/recovery (either internal or external), not what I'm talking about.

        As to whether it's the straw to break the camel's back, then yes, that would be RBS' fault. Customers on the edge of a mortgage approval can be tipped over it - there has to be a cusp somewhere, and so one missed payment can make the difference.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Consequence

        Most send a status code every month, so your record should read - 0 0 0 [repeat 36 times] to show that you have been on time every month for the last year. If the payment doesn't arrive one month, then they will automatically send a '1' to say you are 1 month late.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Consequence

      You can add an ammendment to that 'black mark' saying that this was due to RBS's IT cockup (or words to that effect) just to remind anyone looking at your report in future that it wasn't your problem.

      It will cost you ££££ though unless Experian are running a 30day free trial. The date of the report will remind anyone using the incident against you of the background behind the report.***

      you should also do the same to Equifax and other CRA(p)'s.

      *** The Broker who got me my first Mortgage in 1978 told me to make sure that there is at least 10 worknig days between the days of a salary payment into my account and the extraction of a mortgage payment. That bit of advice is just as true today as it was then IMHO.

      1. Captain Underpants

        Re: Consequence

        Re: adding amendments to black marks - you could try this through Noddle, who offer a basic free equivalent of Experian's service. I've used it myself before, though not for anything serious (thus far I've avoided any really bad knocks against my credit rating...)

      2. chris 17 Silver badge

        Re: Consequence

        @AC a human may read and sympathise but the program assessing your history wont and the policy of whoever cares to check your history will likely not be flexible enough to authorise whoever it is your talking to to take that into account. It will require a lot of unnecessary effort on your part to rectify a blemish on your credit report. Also if you get 3 strikes before its a problem, you now only get 2 through no fault of your own.

        if its your mistake to make that's on you, when your bank makes a mistake its still on you.

    5. Velv

      Re: Consequence

      Companies don't flag "missed" payments until you've had a reasonable opportunity to pay. Direct Debits (and other payments) fail on a daily basis for many reasons and it is widely accepted that the payer must be given opportunity to rectify any "failed" payment.

      Typically a payment won't be flagged to Experian et al until it is at least 30 days overdue. There are exceptions (bad companies) who flag quicker, but the banks are generally not among them.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unrelated to previous issues?

    Well not if you consider an ongoing policy of offshoring and no real investment in IT staff/hardware/software etc,

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I blame the owners. String them up.

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge

    'switch' requests raised between banks aren't being processed and can't be cancelled

    If your bank is currently in the middle of yet another almighty IT fuckup, I think telling your HR department of your new bank account and notifying each company with direct debits manually would be the way to go.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: 'switch' requests raised between banks aren't being processed and can't be cancelled

      Then charge RBS an admin fee, tis only fair.

  8. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Well perhaps...

    Perhaps these banks should try employing some new IT people? After all there are plenty of posts advertised but you always have to have 25 decades of banking experience to get an interview... no new blood in here please is the message.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well perhaps...

      "you always have to have 25 decades of banking experience to get an interview"

      That's cos the IT systems are generally 25 decades old with no documentation... :-|

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Well perhaps...

        Which generally means an old long in the tooth engineer like myself stands half a chance... where as most kids are used to object obfuscation programming and stand no hope of working anything out without a degree in pointless buzzwords making the obvious sound impressive

  9. ma1010

    Should be shutting down soon

    Frankly, after their last major cock-up, I'm surprised they have any customers left to get caught up in this current snafu.

    My advice to anyone with an RBS account:

    1) Take your next paycheck to a bank that has a clue and open an account there

    2) Wait for any pending transactions to clear at RBS (which may be a while, of course)

    3) Withdraw everything in the RBS account as soon as possible

    Think of this as an intelligence test. After this latest episode, anyone who stays with RBS fails the test. I haven't had any problems with my banking in over 30 years.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Should be shutting down soon

      But then RBS falls over when word spreads that the depositers are removing their money,the resulting bank run busts RBS wide open, with other banks seriously in the firing line because of loans made to RBS, and the whole banking sector has to be bailed out again to the tune of 222 trillion pounds this time

      (thats 2 trillion to safeguard the banks,20 trillion in bounses to the bank's various executives and 200 trillion to goldman sachs whos foresight in placing options on the banks is entirely due to senior goldman sachs staff having a revolving door policy with the various financial regulators.. alledgedly)

      1. ma1010

        Re: Should be shutting down soon

        YEP, a run on the bank that totally destroys it - that's EXACTLY what should happen to RBS. May it happen, and let this be a warning to other "financial institutions" -- screw up like this and you're next. This is the modern business equivalent of putting them to the wall and shooting them.

        As anyone who reads El Reg knows, these days most everyone's wealth, all the stuff we work hard for, is represented by bookkeeping in little ones and zeros in computer systems. Banks are essentially IT clearing houses.

        If they can't do their job correctly where their customers' wealth and financial transactions are concerned, then they need to find another line of work. The RBS folks should look for something more in their line of competence, like fast food. Certainly not anything in IT.

        If a nasty example were made of RBS, perhaps the next time someone tells management they need to upgrade systems or risk a major crash, they might listen.

    2. hugo tyson

      Re: Should be shutting down soon

      I haven't had any problems with my banking in over 30 years either. With NatWest. Just FWIW. The last "major cock up" didn't affect everyone, and nor is this one. Put another way, every last company has some customers who have experienced a horror story, and who swear that after switching all was roses...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Should be shutting down soon

        "every last company has some customers who have experienced a horror story"

        A. Some companies have more than others.

        B. Zero would be a good number to aim for.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Nobody losing money" - that's the real problem right there.

    What I find interesting is that NO BANKING ERROR OR PROBLEM *EVER* has resulted in customers being better off instead of the bank.

    From a pure statistical perspective something rather stinks IMHO.

    Anyone care to comment as to the possible cause?

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