Feeds

back to article RBS MELTDOWN LATEST: 'We'll be the bank we should be ... next YEAR maybe'

RBS Banking Group is still refusing to say what went wrong with IT systems in its third major outage in less than two years, despite the fact that customers are still facing problems with their accounts today. In a mea culpa statement, chief exec Ross McEwan said that the systems failure on Cyber Monday was "unacceptable" and …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Bronze badge

F__*__c__kwits

That's all I have to say on the matter.

6
2
Silver badge

Re: F__*__c__kwits

Royal Fuckwits, still, though.

It really is about time the royal charter was withdrawn:

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44385

C'mon Regtards, sign up, damn you sign up!

2
1
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: F__*__c__kwits

The queen probably couldn't give a f__k what us Yanks think of some bank we have never had to deal with. Fear not ours are just as evil and as incompetent though.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: F__*__c__kwits

"couldn't give a f__k what us Yanks think of some bank we have never had to deal with"

Many of your compatriots DO have to deal with RBS, because they own Citizens Financial who have about 1,500 branches across the North West of the US. And the dodgy practices that RBS are famous for seem to have been matched by Citizens, who were fined $140m for excessive overdraft fees.

1
0
Bronze badge
Facepalm

American geography

Er, Citizens Financial seems to be located only in the Chicago area. Although there IS a university called Northwestern there, it has been at least 200 years since that was considered to be the "North West of the US". The Louisiana purchase in 1803 definitely ended that, as did the later organization of the Oregon Territory (today's Washington, Oregon, Idaho and a few extra bits).

0
0
Silver badge

Re: American geography

"Er, Citizens Financial seems to be located only in the Chicago area"

Oops. North East US was what I meant, not North West. It being West of me by some few thousand miles causing some cognitive problems. There is quite a lot outside of Chicago, with a reasonably large footprint:

http://www.citizensbank.com/pdf/AtAGlanceFactSheet.pdf

But to return to the topic, Citizens is still part of the Rancid Bank of Scotland group, albeit with a big "for sale" sign above it.

1
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

To be fair it may take them a while to work out what has actually happened - according to hearsay the hastily assembled banking behemoth has a wide variety of legacy systems and a dispersed and cheaply procured IT operation.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"hastily assembled banking behemoth"

I don't think hastily assembled applies to RBS - they've been a behemoth for years.

The level of incompetence across the whole of the bank is growing - its not just IT that have no clue.

2
0

Quit moaning peeps and just move banks. Simples.

14
1

I would, except they're all as bad as each other. one way or another.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

It's the same across every industry I can think of.

If in any industry all the big players can be assured that each offers an ever lower level of service then it doesn't matter who the consumer moves to the service will be no better or little better at their new choice of provider for that service.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

I can say I think my bank is pretty reliable, so far they have not broken down on me, I think there was the odd web outage but nothing stopping my cards from working..

BUT I don't trust a single bank card to be sufficient..

I carry multiple cards from different banks. if one goes down I can pretty much rely on one of the others working..

if none of them are working, then I REALLY need to worry, but not about paying for things...

3
0
Silver badge

So, based on anyone's real knowledge of the systems in place, which bank(s) are least likely to have serious IT problems? Serious question, because I want to change and this is one of my important criteria.

0
0

"So, based on anyone's real knowledge of the systems in place, which bank(s) are least likely to have serious IT problems? Serious question, because I want to change and this is one of my important criteria."

From a purely customer service point of view I'd recommend First Direct. Always been very helpful and have sorted out things for me that weren't actually their problem. The phone even gets answered really quickly.

I can't answer about their IT systems, but they're a part of HSBC so there is probably some reliance on that".

No, I don't work for them or have any connection, just been with them since soon after they opened and found their service good.

3
0
Silver badge

Thanks, Fogcat. That is useful.

0
0

First Direct

I've been with them since soon after they opened too. I remember the special CD for dial-up (not internet) banking.

They've been great during all that time. Recommended.

Also have no idea about who does the IT, but I've yet to hear them say "sorry, sir, the system's down" when I call them. And they call me before charging me if I've made a right cockup of my account and there's not enough cash in there for a DD,

0
0
Bronze badge

I think most retail banks are in a similar state, RBS are just unlucky in that their house of IT cards is the most wobbly!

1
0
Silver badge

Or perhaps

They are deliberately trying to sink RBS so they can charge it huge receivership fees and buy its assets on the cheap

11
1
Bronze badge

Re: Or perhaps

The hunters become the hunted.

0
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

useless

They should have been left to fail, the only reason they got bailed out was to appease the Scottish Thanks to the failed bean counter Brown.

Now the tax payer is left to shore up a dying mess of a bank which should have been killed off when it went tits up.

5
8
tfb
Boffin

Re: useless

This is just a stupid thing to say, sorry. Have you thought about what "being left to fail" means? It means that at some point RBS would have declared bankruptcy and at, or shortly after, that point all its customers would have lost access to their accounts for some indefinite period. That means that, if you were a customer, what happened on Monday night would have gone on for weeks. That's a pretty bad outcome, to put it rather mildly.

"Oh no" you say, "what would have happened is that someone would have bought the business as a going concern". Here's a clue: that's what happened, with the "someone" being "the UK government" since there were no other organisations willing or able to buy them.

The real problem is that RBS's new owners (that's the people who hang out in Westminster) have done essentially nothing: in particular they have not split the investment bank from the retail bank, possibly split the retail bank further, and they certainly have not done anything to deal with the IT mess in RBS and the other banks over which they directly or indirectly have power. It's not, unfortunately, very hard to guess why this might be, though saying it out loud would probably result in accusations of defamation by said Westminster people.

11
3

Re: useless

Erm, the retail bit of RBS includes Natwest and Ulster banks. Which means they have a hell of a lot more customers in the rest of the UK than in Scotland who rely (relied?) on them to pay their bills. So take your anti-scottish tosh elsewhere.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: useless

"This is just a stupid thing to say, sorry."

Well, strictly speaking RBS did fail, and the government had to bail it out as the UK deposit protection scheme meant that either the state paid up, or other financial services companies (who couldn't absorb losses on that scale) would have been dragged down with RBS.

The mistake the state made was not in making attempts to revive RBS - they should have accepted that it had failed, and actively facilitated its disappearance from the market, whilst keeping the core bank operational. Much in the manner of an insurance fund in run-off. They should have opened the banks books to the SFO and City police, offered an amnesty for whistleblowers, and cleansed the dirt. Had they done that then a fair proportion of the LIBOR rigging guilt would not have attached to RBS, and the bank wouldn't now be sucking on a total of £700m in fines (perhaps more like £200m). New entrants and competitors could have bought tranches of customers if they wanted (not the failed hive off a few dormant and unprofitable accounts model that RBS offered, mind you).

4
1
Bronze badge

Re: useless

Last time I looked that's how capitalism works. The reality is that the bank could have been sold without taxpayer intervention but it would have been the end of the bank and a lot of jobs in Scotland would be lost.

Instead the monster was kept alive because it would have become very apparent in the unwinding that the various regulatory bodies had screwed the pooch and the damage to the public would have been a guaranteed election defeat if it had been let go.

Given the banking guarantee on savings from the government only the wealthy depositors faced losses, the average customer was fine and well protected.

Letting it die would have sent a strong message to the others but now they are all to big to fail is business as usual.

2
2
Bronze badge

Re: useless

RBS head office is in Scotland along with the jobs. Wasn't talking about the customers, do please learn to read!

Our unelected leader at the time was Scottish, go figure. .....

0
3
Silver badge

Re: useless

@nlsd

Actually the vast majority of RBS jobs are in England, mostly in NatWest branches, but also a substantial number in offices in the City, other parts of London and call centres across the nation (Manchester and Croydon spring to mind).

3
0
tfb
Boffin

Re: useless

I think you are confused. Firstly, as others have said most of RBSs employees and customers are not in Scotland, so the whole Scottish thing is just a (rather nasty) red herring.

Secondly, try and work out how much the banking guarantee would be worth to you at the point that your account stopped working: my guess is that it's worth something only if it works immediately and if it makes all your direct debits and so on magically work in whatever new bank you are now with. It would not do that. The knowledge that at some future point the government is going to pay you what is in your account is not much help until they do, because before that point you have no access to money, which you might need if you like to eat. And of course this is all assuming that the failure of RBS had not caused a cascade failure of other banks, which it likely would have.

So there was really no short-term option but to keep RBS running.: it really was too big to fail. What is, in my opinion, not forgivable is that they then have done nothing about it or really any other bank, with the result that all this is going to happen again (not RBS in particular, but somewhere).

That's all I have to say on this.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: useless

Actually the current banking guarantee only holds while it is never actually invoked.

2
0

My statement is missing some detail...

i noticed that my POS payment on monday at ASDA appears on my Natwest statement with absolutely no detail whatsoever (unless you call the last 4 digits of the card number..detail).

Every other payment from this retailer is clearly definied and includes who the retailer was and the type. But not this one.

Let the speculation begin !!

0
0

Re: My statement is missing some detail...

At a guess, the RBS credit acquiring systems fell over, and one of Link/VISA/Mastercard did stand-in authorisation on your card, or the transaction never went to online auth and was just floor-limit authorised at Asda, which means all your statement gets is the data passed back from the scheme to the bank.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: My statement is missing some detail...

Yep, some merchants, not acquired by RBS, decided to stand-in for RBS when they realised what was happening.

Anyone know who acquires for ASDA?

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

There my be trouble ahead.

it said it would be spending an additional £450m on top of its £2bn annual IT spend for a "complete refresh of the mainframe"

So we can expect further outages when they balls up the upgrades. In the long run I think it would be better to re hire all the IT Staff the fired and use them to train the new staff.

3
0

Re: There my be trouble ahead.

Exactly. They fired their experienced staff, ended up in trouble, and are now trying to solve the resulting problem by throwing more technology at it.

5
0
Silver badge

Re: There my be trouble ahead.

Nah, they'll be throwing lots of consultants and contractors at it (many of which probably worked for the bank before they fired them). Bean counters: they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

2
0
Mushroom

wtf?

"admitted that the group had failed to invest properly in IT "for decades""

Are we talking punch-card level technology? Xenix 1.0 ? 8086 processors? Magnetic tape reels? or <shudder> pre-IBM technology?

Details please.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: wtf?

Maybe they mean human investment.

An admission that offshoring competent staff to India to get the wage bill down was a mistake perhaps?

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: wtf?

Well, it is 2013. one decade ago was only 2003, two decades ago was 1993 - he only said the plural, and may have been exagerating a bit in an effort to play for sympathy.

I work for a reasonably large investment bank and one of the critical cash processing systems has been barely touched for nearly 20 years, is running a software version that the vendors who wrote it do not officially support anymore and is on hardware that EOL'd in 2005.

It doesn't surprise me to find that the big "tier 1" banks are in a worse state.

I would assume that the bigger the bank, the more risk-adverse it is when it comes to their critical IT systems. Unfortunately, it seems that "risk adverse" usually translates to "it's working fine and has been for years, don't touch it in case it stops and doesn't start again!!"

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: wtf?

It's rubbish, anyway, RBS have some of the most up-to-date technology you'd hope to find. Sure there are legacy systems, there always will be in companies that are 300-odd years old (or whatever it is) but the core stuff is seriously up to date and seriously invested in. Or at least it was until the current management turned up...

Basically they run everything from z servers (the largest in Europe) down to desktops. You'll not be finding any punch cards or reel tape though.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: wtf?

Probably means they have shed loads of CICS/COBOL/ISAM code and IBM assembler that no one understands any more and is hard to maintain. Buying a faster mainframe is probably not the best way to go in this case (something like a clustered Power 7+ Server and Oracle RAC would probably be a better and more robust solution for general ledger/real time payments).

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: wtf?

Or at least it was until the current management turned up...

You struck the "nail" squarely on the head!!!!!

Too bad, one can't use a 10kg sledge on the grubby fingers of manglement.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

I will be outlining plans in the New Year for making RBS the bank that our customers and the UK need it to be.

Should have said that they'll make it into the bank that the people of the UK deserve, but not the one they need right now.

3
0
jai
Silver badge

Like Batman

"making RBS the bank that our customers and the UK need"

RBS are the bank the UK deserves, but not the bank we need right now...

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Like Batman

look at the post above you :P

3
0
jai
Silver badge

Re: Like Batman

lol

great minds think alike... and don't work at RBS :)

And also - i should read all the comments before i post :)

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

Maybe their vision has beome 'clouded'.

3
0
Silver badge

This is incredibly worrying, stressful and inconvenient

and I expect full recompense for the aforementioned will be rapidly paid into the bank accounts of the directors.

4
0

I think they need a bit of an incentive.

Maybe they'd make their systems a shitload more robust if they were faced with having to compensate every customer with, say, £10 each, per day/part day affected (with a day being defined as 00:00:00 to 23:59:59).

2
0
Silver badge

Something not yet considered

One point that has not been considered is that RBS are in an on-going transformation. As an RBS customer in England, I was given an outline of the Santander abortive sale, and recently information about the Williams and Glynn split (RBS are splitting most of their Scottish Nat-West branches, and most of their English RBS branches out into a separate bank with the revived name of Williams and Glynn).

I've already been moved onto a different URL for on-line banking and banking-as-an-app, and we've had our debit cards re-issued twice in the last 18 months with different numbers, presumably with a different bank code hashed in the long number.

I suspect that much of the $2bn+ spend promised next year is already earmarked for that split to happen

It is possible that it was some of the on-going work for this which caused the problems, although Cyber Monday would be a really bad day to plan it. More probably, someone just screwed up.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Something not yet considered

"I've already been moved onto a different URL for on-line banking and banking-as-an-app, and we've had our debit cards re-issued twice in the last 18 months with different numbers, presumably with a different bank code hashed in the long number."

And you're still sticking with them? Were you the bloke over the barrel in Deliverance?

3
1
Silver badge

Re: Something not yet considered

Actually, it's mainly a matter of momentum. They are still providing the banking services for me mostly successfully, and it looks as if I was not too badly affected by the problems (I managed to get money out of an ATM at just past 19:00, in the middle of the supposed problems). I was not affected at all by the previous problems, but that is probably because I get paid at a different time from most people (it was credits into the accounts that were affected).

Also, it's easy moving an account, it's less easy moving a (reasonably priced) overdraft facility!

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.