Finance News

NatWest Opens on Sunday to Help Customers Deal with System Meltdown

NatWest bank opened the doors of its 1,200 bank branches across the UK today for the first time ever on a Sunday, to be on hand to help customers as best as possible with problems caused by the bank’s mass system meltdown.
The bank has faced a lot of criticism for the stress caused to its customers, many whom are powerless and unable to access their wages which had been paid into their accounts.
In a double whammy the bank was also then criticised for not providing a free helpline for customers affected by the system failings, forcing them to call an 0845 telephone number. In response to the criticism the bank has said that customers can request a refund on any telephone charges that they may incur while trying to contact the bank.
NatWest, which is owned by the largely state funded RBS suffered a computer failure which caused a massive amount of payments not to be processed, leaving customers unable to access their cash. The boss of RBS has issued an apology to customers.
Stephen Hester, chief executive of NatWest owner RBS, said: ‘I am very sorry for the difficulties people are experiencing. Our customers rely on us day in and day out to get things right, and on this occasion we have let them down. This should not have happened.’
‘Our staff have already helped thousands of customers to access cash and we will continue to provide this service on a 24-hour basis while we work to resolve the problems.
‘I also want to reassure customers that no one will be left permanently out of pocket as a result of this, and again, they should contact us directly about this.’
The problems for the bank which has 7.5 million UK customers with personal accounts are believed to have been caused by a failed software update on RBS’s payment processing systems. Payments that should have gone into accounts on Wednesday did not get processed, leaving people unable to withdraw money from cash machines, or use their debit cards. This caused great problems for some people ranging from them being unable to pay for fuel, hotel bills and even having their internet grocery shopping deliveries stopped.
There is a worry of a knock on affect, with customers facing charges from external agencies who will charge for non-payment of their bills, such as credit card companies and mortgage payments.