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Sunday 16 December 2018

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RBS Group online banking outage 'resolved'

Written by Hannah McGrath
21/09/2018

Online banking services across Royal Bank of Scotland Group - including RBS, NatWest and Ulster Banks - were down this morning, with millions of customers unable to access their accounts via online and mobile apps.

The group said the issue has now been "resolved" across its network of retail banks. The banking group apologised this morning after customers reported being locked out of their online banking services, or found their apps were unable to detect an internet connection.

A spokesperson for RBS said: “We would like to apologise to customers who experienced issues logging into their online and mobile banking accounts this morning, this issue has now been resolved.”

The glitch, which was discovered shortly before 5am this morning, was initially thought to be restricted to NatWest customers only, but it became apparent that the issue was affecting the entire RBS banking group. Telephone banking and ATM services were unaffected.

A statement posted to the NatWest Twitter account said: “We’re aware of some issues on our online and mobile banking services and are working hard to fix them. Telephone banking and ATMs are available. Sorry and thanks for your patience.”

In an interview with LBC Radio this morning, Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS apologised to customers and suggested that ongoing changes to the systems could have been behind the outage.

"We feel the pain of our customers every time this happens," he added.

McEwan said the number of IT outages had "dropped dramatically" from 300 in 2014 to 20 last year.

Customers vented frustration with the outage and extended waits to speak to telephone banking operators. One Natwest customer Tweeting under the name Chantal Sandal complained she had not been notified of the issue.

“It would have been nice to be notified about this instead of wasting an hour trying to log into the app,” she said. Another, Tweeting under the name Julie Billard, said: “Why can’t I access my money? I have no local branch now so rely on online banking.”

The IT meltdown comes after customers of Barclays bank suffered a six-hour blackout in their online, telephone banking and branch services yesterday.

The lender is now facing a parliamentary probe into the incident from the Treasury Select Committee after millions of customers were left without access to banking services, City AM reported.

In a statement sent to its customers, NatWest said: "We are sorry if you are having trouble getting into our online banking or mobile app. We are working hard to resolve the issue. You can still access your account through telephone banking or alternatively you can visit one of our ATMs."

RBS Group is the fourth bank to report an IT outage this week, with Barclays, the Co-Operative Bank and Cashplus, a FinTech offering prepaid credit cards, all forced to apologise to customers.

The series of failures follow a meltdown at challenger bank TSB following a botched IT system migration in April. The repeated outages left thousands of customers without access to online banking and resulted in the resignation of chief executive Paul Pester.

Retail banks are coming under increasing pressure to improve their online systems and technology, as customers move from branch based services to digital and app-based banking.

Earlier this week, it was reported that RBS is in the early stages of trialling two standalone digital banks under the NatWest brand as part of plans for a line of online-only products.



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