Natwest tech glitch still affecting customer accounts

There is no end in sight for thousands of Natwest customers who since Thursday have been unable to draw out money or pay bills thanks to an IT glitch, despite the bank taking the unusual step of opening yesterday - a Sunday.

Addressing customers in a FAQ section online, Stephen Hester, chief executive of RBS, which owns Natwest, was unable to say how much longer it would take to clear the backlog of payments, in what he admitted was an “unacceptable inconvenience.”

Although the initial technical problem has now been fixed – apparently owing to a software update on Tuesday, he apologised to both Natwest customers and “many customers” of other banks because, as of last night, accounts are “still impacted”.

“Right now my top priority, and the priority of the entire RBS Group, is to fix these problems and put things right for our customers,” Mr Hester said. “This is taking time, but I want to reassure people that we are working around the clock to resolve these problems as quickly as we are able.”

In line with his claim, around 1,200 Natwest branches opened their doors yesterday, a Sunday, the first move of its kind in the bank’s history, on top of 7,000 staff deployed to handle customer queries and tackle the backlog.

Customers able to prove they should have received payments have been offered emergency cash payouts to tide them over, notably those who are “facing hardship or difficulty,” the banking boss said.

All customers have been promised that they will not be stung by penalty charges if regular payments, such as mortgages, have not been paid on time, and reassured that there “should be no adverse impact” to their credit ratings.

“We will ensure that no customers will be out of pocket as a result of these issues,” Natwest said online. “We can confirm that any fees and charges incurred by customers will be fully refunded. This includes charges levied by a third party; for example, if you were late paying a non-NatWest credit card or mortgage because your account wrongly showed there wasn't sufficient cash.”

 

25th June 2012

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