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RBS admits neglecting IT system after major glitch

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has admitted it has neglected its in-house systems and technology for decades, after its payment and banking systems failed again at the start of the week.

The admission came from RBS' Ross McEwan, the bank's new chief executive, following the IT crash which left more than one million UK customers unable to withdraw cash on Monday, while others were once again unable to access the bank's online and mobile banking facilities.

RBS' system-wide core banking and payment processing crash came on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday, and raised questions about how robust the firm's financial technology is after two other such major IT failures.

McEwan said: "For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems. Last night's systems failure was unacceptable...I'm sorry for the inconvenience we caused our customers."

He explained that he will be announcing plans to improve the systems in the New Year, which will see investment increase dramatically with updated IT and new staff likely to be a priority.

The chief executive has pledged to spend $1.1 billion in the next three years on UK branches, with much of that earmarked for improving aging siloed IT systems in the retail banking unit that owns NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank in the UK.

By Tony Aynsley and Neil Ainger