back to article Brit banking sector hasn't gone a single day of 2020 without something breaking

It appears the UK banking system is playing a fiscal game of Top Trumps as both Yorkshire and Clydesdale Bank followed yesterday's example set by Lloyds by not processing payments into customer accounts. Problems followed a similar pattern as customers checked their accounts this morning to find expected payments not turning …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Is that Lenny and Carl

    Hanging the sign for 0 days with out an injury?

    yes, my coat, with the pocket that leads to the bank under my mattress!

  2. petef

    Travelex Is Totally Stuffing Unwitting Partners

    1. macjules Silver badge

      More like Travelex Isn't Testing Software Update Processes.

  3. Duffaboy
    FAIL

    I always laugh when companies use the phrases

    Some = All

    A few = All

    Small number = All

    Limited = All

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: I always laugh when companies use the phrases

      I would prefer a company tell the bloody truth, the great unwashed probably don't care until it affects them but I would prefer to use services for companies that admit when things break or they get it wrong.

      The annoying thing is near enough every company uses these stupid phrases, even though it could actually be affecting the majority of their customers.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: I always laugh when companies use the phrases

        Get used to it my <random_number> friend... it's the language of the new department MRP(maybe real people?)

        We're sorry we're downplaying the scale of the massive fsck up.... we're not bad, we're just not people... we don't care, we can't...

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: I always laugh when companies use the phrases

      If only.

      If it really were all, the problem would be detected almost immediately. many resources would be directed to fixing it, and it would probably be easy to diagnose.

      "Some" is worse, because it reduces the organization's incentive to find and fix the problem, and the more conditions that apply to the failure case, the harder it is to isolate the cause. In terms of general categories, inconsistency is probably the biggest issue with software.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: I always laugh when companies use the phrases

        In this case it did seem to be "All", as in "All BACS payments on this date".

        Quite possibly all BACS payments from that date until the heat-death of the universe, if not corrected.

    3. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: I always laugh when companies use the phrases

      In particular almost, everything is limited (although some things and numbers are very large).

      Yes, even including hydrogen and stupidity.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: I always laugh when companies use the phrases

        I was with you till you included 'stupidity'. That seems to have no known limits.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modern day banking tips

    So, one rather useful tip I learnt a long time ago: have multiple bank accounts (at least two, preferably more) and have them with separate, unrelated banks. then keep some spare* cash stashed in the account(s) that your salary is NOT sent to by your employer. Then, if one goes TITSUP** the chances are the other one is OK and you can at least get at some emergency cash.

    (* assuming you even have 'spare' cash, which may not be likely if you're in a modern, 21st century UK economy low paid job, or are disabled, unemployed, a teacher, an emergency services worker, a carer, a military grunt or a level one IT help desk jockey. Tory voters possibly need not apply).

    (** Terminal Insensitivity To Social Urgency Problems)

    A/C because I snuck in a couple of politicals and people will feckin' moan.

    1. Speckled Jim

      Re: Modern day banking tips

      I keep my cash in a pillow case and throw apples at people - It's just as effective.

  5. vulture65537

    If El Reg wants to reproduce user content on topical issues isn't it possible to pick items with better adherence to the 3rd commandment?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Which third commandment?

      The actual ten commandments on the two stone tablets that Moses hewed as commanded by God are described in Exodus 34 verses 13 to 26. Some verses have no commandments and others can have one or two depending on interpretation but they do divide reasonably cleanly into 10:

      (1) [When you are in the lands for foreigners] ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves. [stuff about jealousy and whoring].

      (2) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

      (3) The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.

      (4) All that openeth the matrix is mine; [this refers to first born livestock and male children which must be bought back from priests. Also: what to do if you cannot pay.]

      (5) Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

      (6) thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest,

      (7) Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. [God promises to cast out nations, enlarge boarders and prevent foreigners from wanting your land]

      (8) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

      (9) The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.

      (10) Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

      The month of Abib seems to some time in Spring. As it is based on the Lunar calendar the date varies but I am fairly certain it is not now. As I have not entered Egypt I have never left so I am not sure (3) applies to me at all. Assuming you did leave Egypt in Abib you have to eat some unleavened bread. As far as I can tell, commenting on internet articles is not forbidden even during Abib.

      The other good news is you do not have to honour your parents. There are no prohibitions on murder, adultery, theft, lying or coveting. Murder and theft will get you into trouble with most secular authorities and the UK government is planning a clamp down on lying on the internet but according to the ten commandments commenting here will not damn you to hell.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: Which third commandment?

        I don't know what Bible you have, but mine says Thou Shalt Not Kill is part of them.

        So yes, there is a prohibition on murder. And on theft, and on lying.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Which third commandment?

          I linked to King James, which is decisively correct because for each verse the translators prayed for a sign from God if they made a mistake. There are plenty of other versions with different phrasing but the overall content is substantially similar. The stone tablets from Exodus 34 are very different from the 10 commandments that are taught to Christians. Try reading what is actually written in your Bible some time rather than relying on what you are told is in there.

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Ah, the King James bible.

            That explains everything.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              That explains everything

              No - it's more down to the other poster trying to be 'clever' with theology. Which he/she/it clearly knows very little about.

              Hint: just regurgitating the words without context to explanation doesn't really 'prove' anything.. Study does.

              1. wolf29

                Looks like they were talking about the Exodus 20 commandments. The first draught.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problems are probably due to the Y2K fixes, with 2 digit dates rolling over in 2020 so its now 1920 (just like with splunk). The 'temp' fix they did was forgotten about, hey there is 20 years to fix it, now its come around and they screwed up as they didn't do anything about it.

    1. Dave Pickles

      More likely someone wrote "3rd January 2019" on the top of the BACS transfer form.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Pint

        Y2K+X

        "This was caused by the processing date for a Bacs file being incorrect"

        I would put money on the bad date theory. But why the software would accept a date a year in the past is just poor programming - always check your inputs.

        OTOH, using a sliding 100 year date range was a Y2K workaround. But the idea was that you would put a permanent fix into the system after you finished your New Year's pub celebration.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Y2K+X

          Everyone knows that temporary fixes will be left in until they explode

        2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: Y2K+X

          > But why the software would accept a date a year in the past is just poor programming

          Errr... it didn't. It rejected the input. Hence the problem:

          lots of money that SHOULD have been reflected in/distributed through the retail accounts, instead remained in a wholesale account(s) and the upload file was moved to the Rejected directory rather than the Processed directory.

          Sauce: I've worked with these systems a lot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The BACS file was dated the 6th, not the 3rd

  7. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    Hmmm...

    "Anybody with any ongoing concerns should contact the bank through the usual channels."

    The usual channel through which people communicate with a bank would be via transfers wouldnt it? Seems like thats not such a good idea right now...

    1. Smooth Newt
      Meh

      Re: Hmmm...

      "Anybody with any ongoing concerns should contact the bank through the usual channels."

      "The usual channel through which people communicate with a bank would be via transfers wouldnt it? Seems like thats not such a good idea right now...

      The usual channel for communicating with banks is the one where you listen to music on a tinny speaker for 45 minutes whilst periodically being told that your call is very important to them.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm...

        being told that your call is very important to them

        And that "you can always use our app or website to check your balance or transfer money". Unless (of course) the reason that you are phoning is because the app/website/twitter channel are all lying on their backs wondering which particular slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick just hit them..

        It all comes doen to resources. Do you have enough people on the phones to cope with unusual demand[1]? Well no, because most of the time they are not needed. So you staff with the minimum needed to cope with demand at 2am with the expectation that, if it's really serious, people *will* hang on for an hour or so. And, since all your competitors do it too, no-one is going to move just because of your really, really bad phone support.

        [1] You know - the unusual demand that happens every morning when people try to phone up before they go to work.. Or in the evening when they try to phone up after work.

  8. ecofeco Silver badge

    You get what you pay for

    Maybe the banks should pay for knowledge, skill and real tools?

    Well I can dream can't I?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: You get what you pay for

      > the banks should pay

      The customers pay, never the bank.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: You get what you pay for

        Look, I got a downvote from a banker... :-p

  9. SVV Silver badge

    they will not be negatively impacted financially as a result of this

    I think that it's fair to say that people who can't get money out or pay their bills HAVE been negatively impacted financially as a result of this.

    Trying to spin the fact that you won't charge fees incurred by your own screwup as something generous is lame and insulting in this context.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: they will not be negatively impacted financially as a result of this

      > won't charge fees incurred by your own screwup

      Since that's what they usually do, it is indeed generous.

  10. Persona Bronze badge
    Coat

    Coat

    I keep an emergency supply of cash in the top pocket of most of my coats. It stays there too because, unlike my wallet, my wife doesn't know I keep cash there.

  11. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
    Alert

    Question for the Commentards!

    RE a related bank cockup, and some possible future ones:

    HelloSailorBC Global Retail in London started having their ingathering-of-all-globaloffices daily upload crash when its size grew too large (over 10gb IIRC), about 3-4yrs ago. Someone "fixed" it in 2secs by changing the file-load method (in C# IIRC) from normal to the memory-mapped one. This SHOULD have had no effect or actually worsened it, but instead solved the problem immediately.

    What this implies is two-fold:

    1. C#'s(?) file access library uses a Schlemiel-the-Painter algorithm on normal reads, AND

    2. there's a bug in the low-level Disk Driver or Storage Driver: use it too hard and it falls over (suggests a race condition)

    The latter is what interests me. Anyone know what setup that company uses, under the hood, for their storage?

    Because it's buggy.

  12. ForthIsNotDead
    Coat

    Good luck getting it fixed...

    Now that all your contractors have fucked off abroad/retired due to IR35.

  13. mr-slappy
    Headmaster

    Crescendo

    "The wailing kicked off from 6am local time, reaching a crescendo three hours later"

    Sigh. A crescendo is a gradual increase in loudness (from the Italian for "growing."). I know that some dictionaries also define it as a high point but they are just wrong.

    (disclosure: I am an amateur musician, not an Italian speaker)

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