Stephen Hester – RBS Group chief executive has sent a letter to the UK Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie.
In the letter he explained what has caused the problems at NatWest and Ulster Bank he also said he is determined to “personally lead the process” of regaining the trust of customers hit by the IT meltdown. The letter was dated 29th June . he starts by saying
“As we have confirmed, account balances have registered as normal for the vast majority of RBS and NatWest customers over the last few days. We have more work still to do in Ulster Bank and I apologise especially to our customers there for the slow return to acceptable service levels”
He goes on to give a summary of “The Incident” and seems to admit that some transaction data has been lost!
The initial reviews we have carried out indicate that the problem was created when maintenance on systems, which are managed and operated by our team in Edinburgh, caused an error in our batch scheduler. This error caused the automated batch processing to fail on the night of Tuesday 19 June. The knock-on effects were substantial and required significant manual interventions from our team, compounded because the team could not access the record of transactions that had been processed up to the point of failure. The need to first establish at what point processing had stopped delayed subsequent batches and created a substantial backlog. It is not clear at this stage why that record was not available. Consequently, a significant number of customer account balances did not update as they should have from Thursday 21 June.
He continues to explain that the majority of Natwest accounts have been sorted out – but that Ulster Bank has been more heavily affected – and the problems are expected to continue into next week .
“As we have confirmed, the major backlog of account balance updates cleared on Monday and Tuesday for RBS and NatWest customers. This means that account balances have registered as normal for the vast majority of RBS and NatWest customers this week. As previously cautioned, however, progress towards a completely normal service is likely to be affected by the system volumes over recent days.
Ulster Bank has been more heavily affected, which we particularly regret, as it is, in part, dependent on NatWest systems. While progress is being made we are being purposefully cautious in our approach to ensure our solutions are sustainable. We expect the Ulster Bank situation to have improved substantially by early next week. We continue to work closely with the Central Bank of Ireland and regularly update them on progress. We are working day and night to process the backlog of transactions for Ulster Bank as quickly as possible though some level of inconvenience is likely to continue into next week.”
Ulster Bank in Ireland are opening some branches until 7pm every day next week.
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