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RBS / NatWest bank suffers another computer failure

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and its NatWest and Ulster Bank imprints in the UK, have suffered another computer failure to its core banking systems with ATM withdrawals, card payment and phone and online banking services inoperational from 10pm to the early hours of this morning.

The latest IT failure comes just eight months after RBS Group’s retail banking infrastructure fell over for a week last summer after a botched system upgrade.

RBS Group has apologised to UK retail banking customers who faced disruption to their banking services late on Wednesday night and into this morning and says that the problems are now fixed, insisting that its cash machines, card payments and phone and online bank systems were back up and running at 1am today, although some customers are still reporting problems accessing their accounts.

No technical reasons have yet been given for this latest IT failure, but customer support lines have been operational and the bank seems to answering customers questions better than previously when its reputation was seriously damaged by its failure to provide a service for a week. RBS Group has also offered to pay compensation, although the bank must be hoping this doesn’t reach the £125m that had to paid out after last year’s fiasco.

“From an IT perspective RBS responded quickly to the operational issues, suggesting that business and continuity plans have been enhanced [since last time],” commented Daniel Mayo, practice leader for the financial services technology unit at the Ovum consultancy. “The issue for RBS, however, and all banks with legacy systems, is the need to prevent operational failures in the first place. If the frequency of critical incidents continues, then RBS will need to think about taking a more transformational route to cure some of the underlying challenges.”