RBS And Natwest Glitch: Branches Open Early
More than one thousand Natwest and RBS branches opened early on Wednesday to help customers resolve outstanding issues with their accounts after Monday's technical glitch.
All of the high street banks' systems went down for three hours on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, 'Cyber Monday', but while the IT issue was apparently fixed there have been knock-on effects of the outage for customers to contend with.
Some complained of accounts being closed, late payments leaving them overdrawn and problems logging on to online banking services.
There was also concern that phishing attacks aimed to capitalise on the confusion.
Sky News was shown one example of an apparent attempt by fraudsters to gain details of a customer's banking information.
In response, RBS said: "We take our customers' security very seriously and we will never ask them to disclose security details or personal information.
"We urge our customers not to click on any links and attachments within suspicious emails and to report a suspicious email to us.
"If a customer thinks their accounts have been accessed online by someone other than themself, they should contact us immediately."
RBS - which owns the Natwest and Ulster bank brands - opened branches from 08.00am to assist its 15.7 million customers still experiencing problems with their accounts following Monday evening's failure - the third such problem to face the group in 18 months.
The group promised anyone left out of pocket would be compensated - including those who had to check their credit reports to ensure their ratings were unaffected.
The group chief executive Ross McEwan described the latest glitch as "unacceptable" and added: "For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems.
"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.
"I'm sorry for the inconvenience we caused our customers. We know we have to do better.
"I will be outlining plans in the New Year for making RBS the bank that our customers and the UK need it to be.
"This will include an outline of where we intend to invest for the future."
The bank is still investigating the cause of the glitch, which struck at around 6.30pm.
RBS insisted the problems were "completely unrelated" to high transaction volumes on 'Cyber Monday' and it is understood that hacking has been ruled out also.
RBS and NatWest came under fire in March after a "hardware fault" meant customers were unable to use their online accounts or withdraw cash for several hours.
A major computer issue in June last year saw payments go awry, wages appear to go missing and home purchases and holidays interrupted for several weeks, costing the group £175m in compensation.
Trade union Unite, which represents RBS staff, called on Tuesday for the bank to halt its cost-cutting programme, which has seen thousands of jobs axed and IT functions sent abroad, in the wake of the IT problems.
National officer Dominic Hook said: "It is unacceptable that the bank's customers are once again facing inconvenience. Unite has grave concerns that staffing challenges are exacerbating the problems facing the bank