RBS chief admits “decades” of failing to invest in IT

The CEO of RBS has admitted that the banking group has failed to invest for “decades” in up-to-date IT systems.

RBS chief admits

Ross McEwan claimed the group was throwing cash at new systems, but admitted it could be a while before customers see an improvement.

“For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems,” he said. “We need to put our customers’ needs at the centre of all we do. It will take time, but we are investing heavily in building IT systems our customers can rely on.”

McEwan’s statement comes after a major systems glitch last night which left debit card holders and online banking users unable to pay for anything. McEwan described the outage as “unacceptable”.

RBS has admitted it doesn’t know what caused the systems meltdown, which saw NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank customer debit cards declined at shops, cash machines and restaurants through the country last night.

The failure coincided with Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.

Not a single text or email from NatWest regarding the system meltdown – just leaving customers stranded

RBS has said all systems were now back online and that it would repay anyone affected by the hiccup, though some customers are still reporting problems.

“The systems issues that affected our customers last night have now been resolved and all our services are now back working normally,” said the group in a statement. “We would like to apologise to our customers. If anyone has been left out of pocket as a result of these systems problems, we will put this right.”

Stranded customers

The issues began at around 6.30pm yesterday evening, with customers finding their debit cards – though not credit cards – refused at cash machines and stores. It took NatWest more than an hour to respond to complaints after it issued a brief apology on Twitter.

“Not a single text or email from [NatWest] regarding the system meltdown – just leaving customers stranded. Not impressed,” said one customer, David Coombs.

RBS director of customer services, Susan Allen, told the BBC the banking group was working through “a detailed analysis” of what went wrong.

“It is completely unacceptable that customers couldn’t access their own money,” she said.

A spokeswoman told PC Pro that RBS had focused on getting things “back up and running” for customers, and that it wasn’t clear when the investigation would be complete.

NatWest was hit by a similar systems glitch last year, after a botched software upgrade stopped payments from showing up in accounts.

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