THE RBS GLITCH: Hester’s Hijackers go from the ridiculous to the incredible.

My jawslog@gmail.com inbox is packed to the brim with stories of RBS and Natwest ‘glitches’ ranging from brazen theft via postdated restoration cheques and crazy delays on payments, all the way through to standing orders not being honoured….and now the latest, things being debited twice.

Thus RBS admitted last night that loan payments on credit taken out by RBS customers had been removed twice ‘in a large number of cases’. Earlier, the Group had said the problem was ‘small’ and ‘duplicate mortgage payments have not been taken during Natwest’s IT meltdown’. But some Slog readers dispute this.

As Gullibles everywhere know and accept, this was all caused by one Indian engineer. How bizarre, though, that every last mistake is in RBS/Natwest’s favour. What, one wonders, are the chances of that happening by accident?

Small and medium sized businesses seem to have been particularly targeted. A regular Slogger exporting to the eurozone has described to me in detail how his last need to wire some money to suppliers abroad (£30,000 in total) was met with a blank look and the entirely new information that such transfers were now restricted to £300. The SME customer is five years from start-up and doing well, with only a small overdraft facility and a history of being in the black. Only forcibly argued small points such as “This is our money, so don’t tell us we can’t transfer it” made Natwest grudgingly go through with the transaction. So things are now moving on from ‘we don’t want to lend to you’ to ‘we will do what we like with your money now f**k off’.

Some of you may also have spotted that, at the outset of this “a little Indian did it and then ran away” bollocks, the problem was allegedly contained  within NatWest. Initial Slog research over a week ago disproved that one, and now – assuming in the 24/7 news asylum that most people have forgotten – Hester’s Hijackers are brazenly showing with every new announcement that it applies right across the Group. This makes our Indian scapegoat a chap who clearly has a bike: he wiped a load of NatWest files by mistake, and now the wiping of those files means double helpings for the RBS side of the bank, and slow payments to Ulster customers.

Still, it’s good to see one British export sector booming: another Slogger noted last night that the Santander online banking and money access  systems are all down. This was then confirmed by others flooding my inbox yet again – with the dreaded ‘technical glitch’ getting the blame. The nationality of Senor Glitch is unknown thus far, but Money-Saving Expert notes this morning that ‘the system is back up although very sluggish’. Funny how the problem is never, ever one of money going out too quickly.

50 thoughts on “THE RBS GLITCH: Hester’s Hijackers go from the ridiculous to the incredible.

    • Hear hear.
      I’ve had virtually all of my banking arrangements with Nationwide for the past 4 years, and had virtually no trouble.
      My only criticism of them is that they used to sponsor the England Football team – they have seen sense now!

  1. I can’t see much b8ll8cks deconstruction here this morning.

    I take it you have never been involved in I.T., John? The problems caused by one individual who fcuk’s up a database, even at SME level, can go on for a long long time. I know – I have had to spend months unraveling such incidents. Most of yesterday and indeed most days, a good chunk of my time is spent trying to get upgrades installed and working correctly. (Failed totally yesterday on one, but it’s non-critical). Then I had to start straightening out some accounts that someone had scr3wed up because even a PhD in Maths doesn’t mean you can rely on the said Dr. to do even a basic bank reconciliation on Sage these days.

    Good news however: one bit of software which completely delighted me yesterday and worked flawlessly was my iPhone app from RBS – yes the very same!. I’ve only had it installed for a month so still playing with it, but it allowed me to transfer money instantly and effortlessly from one account to another without a hitch. What joy!

    Now, back to the b8ll8cks deconstruction ……

    • Mark – doesn’t John’s premise (that this latest debacle seems always to work in the bank’s favour) still stand, IT expertise notwithstanding?

      Re. your last point: I don’t have a “smart” phone for simple security reasons and I wouldn’t recognise an app if it bit me on the backside, but the facility to switch money instantly between accounts is one I have enjoyed for years with the Co-Operative bank :-)

      • By definition the reported glitches are in the banks favour. But that doesn’t mean that’s all of them.

      • Less likely that readers would write in to complain, I imagine, if errors were being made in their favour.

        I wonder if Mr Ward might particularly ask readers to advise of any such instances during the so-called meltdown period. It wouldn’t be a random sample and you couldn’t read too much into the results, but it would be interesting to know if there were any cases at all where the bank had doled out cash or credited accounts by mistake.

    • Been there done that to de-hole IT illiterate individuals – but this is a very large bank for heaven’s sake!

      The bit that always amuses me with major IT SNAFUs by idiots like these is how it is always claimed to affect very few users/customers (or not been exploited in the case of Microsoft). Blogs and other Social Media mean they can’t hide from the deluge any more. Bang goes corporate credibility.

      “the b8ll8cks deconstruction” is there in the demolition of the the PR (lies?) emanating from the RBS group.

      • Don’t they take a continous backup Image starting before the U/G and post update – if the U/G goes tits up – take it all off line and restore said Images in the right order and finally feed in current transaction – much the same way that you would do with Windoze at home or in the Office but obviously on a largerscale

    • I can’t believe any sloggers are daft enought to still have an account with RBS, the writing has been on the wall for a long time and now its in neon lights: “get out now”.

      Same goes for Lloyds TSB and Barclays, they are dead men walking. Yesterday someone posted a link to Paul Mason’s blog with a comment about censorship. Thanks for the link, it was a fascinating piece about Barclays. Over the past few years they have pulled c £16 billion out of lending to the UK sme sector and put it into casino banking and property. They do not give a stuff about the real UK wealth generating economy. Globalisation is now wrecking both UK and US as the domestic economy is cannibalised of capital in the hope of high returns elsewhere which will save their doomed arses.

      Time to get the capital out and let the shareholders and bondholders suck it up.

      • It’s only a small amount of dosh and will shortly be under the control of Santander. Not sure whether it should stay there, but whilst it’s with RBS there is little chance of losing the whole lot.

    • Totally agree. The IT dept is really struggling to get things back to the normal ‘edge of chaos’ state. The IT people are not allowed to talk to the press for very good reasons.
      The ‘small problem’, ‘only a few customers’, etc. bollocks is coming from the bank PR department.
      Management have greatly weakened their IT department’s expertise because they haven’t got a clue what the IT people really do. They think it is just headcount. They don’t realise that some staff are ten times more important than others. Moving admin to India to save money is not toooo risky. But when you also get rid of the staff in Edinburgh who have the knowledge to do disaster recovery, then you become an accident waiting to happen.

    • MarkyMark,

      Before you claim to know everything because you are ‘in IT’ please give us a brief but relevant CV of you experience of systems as large and mixed as RBS/NatWest/Ulster bank where I suspect Sage is not a mission critical software system.

      Surely the Bank’s systems would entail Audit logs with checkpoints for reliable restore facilities and surely all files are written with multiple copies, preferably at different locations to ensure system integrity in case of failures?

      OK I last programmed in 1974 but I was (as in the Bill gates sense re Windows) associated with a transaction processing system that was installed on many thousands of mainframe systems world wide 1971-83, so the systems now involve legacy mainframe internet interfaces and probably other system integration however I can not believe my above remarks are not relevant

      This fiasco at RBS is at the very least a multiple system failure as a failure to instal a software upgrade is unlikely (and should never be able) to cause this failure unless the whole system and recovery procedures are not fit for purpose.

      RBS can not operate if their computer systems are that unstable

      • In my 24 years in the Computer Industry working for the worlds largest IT company, I have never seen nor heard of a major system vital to the company and customers not being fixed within hours or over a W/E, that includes the Banking sector, in fact every sector .Seems the Banks have cut corners and possibly laid off essential IT staff .

      • Did I claim to ‘know eveything’ ? Where did I say that ….???

        As to RBS, no conspiracy theories needed – every system in the world can be screwed by the stupidity of one idiot if all the other ducks are lined up. If it can happen, it will happen.

        Didn’t the Fukushima meltdown really get going when the last line of electrical power backup – mobile generators – were crought to the site when it was head-scratching all round because the sockets didn’t match the plugs? Well that little incident has so far threatened the continued existence of half of Japan according to some blogs.

        But don’t let my thinking change your view that things can never go catastrophically wrong because there are always backup plans and systems in place, and all you have to do is this, that and the other and everything will be fine and no one would ever be so stupid as to….. (yawn…)…..

    • As someone in charge of IT for a financial institution your suggestion Mark that one person can mess up a database suggests to me that your entire group has absolutely no idea what they are doing.

      The most basic architecture rule is that you exhaustively test any new code/structure before it goes live with dummy data. You also archive every change so assuming a big mistake inexplicably does get made you go back to the last working version immediately.

      There is absolutely no excuse for a system not to be working BEFORE it is implemented.

      “Most of yesterday and indeed most days, a good chunk of my time is spent trying to get upgrades installed and working correctly”. Installed where?! If you are installing on local computers this honestly is enough to make my head explode.

      • @MarkyMark, I work for a tiny company but it does do real-time processing 24/7 we have the following environments: Production, Production mirror, Production backup, test and development. We do hourly database backups (the latest restored to another server daily to test them). Two Internet connections with different providers. Dual routers/switches etc, spare parts stock. 8 hours of UPS plus an alternate emergency environment located in “the cloud” i.e. off-site.

        With a major bank – there is only one conclusion – It should not have happened and if there was a major failure there should have been a PLAN to deal with it. Two weeks down time and I would be be down too – down in the dole queue!

    • MarkyMark: If it is just a technical glitch”, explain how, as JW claims, and as is borne out by anecdotal evidence, that ALL ERRORS IN PAYMENT DURING THIS MESS HAVE BEEN THAT PEOPLE COULDN’T GET ANY OR ENOUGH OF THEIR MONEY. No one has reported their balance being too big, nor withdrawals not being recorded.

  2. This blog could not have been more aptly named for our times!

    My old dad who lives in the ROI has not had his pension for 3 weeks, and is at the end if his (hitherto unused) overdraft facility. The Ulster bank will hand out cash if people go in but that doesn’t help with the direct debits that are bouncing back all the time.

    I want open an account with the co-op and never darken Barclays door again, but I have a permanent 3k overdraft in Barclays, caused in no small part by them taking 7k in penalties from me over a 5 year period after I got into slight difficulties when I got divorced and the ex stopped paying his share of the mortgage.

    Would such a state if affairs preclude me from opening a current account with the co op?

  3. Ulster Bank is a shambles. This is going to cost jobs in Northern Ireland, very soon.
    Still, Stormont closes up this week for the summer holidays …

  4. Hmmm. If only there was a currency that derived it’s value from the laws of mathematics rather than the whims of central banksters. One that one could store oneself and send anywhere in the world at the click of a mouse with virtually no transaction fee, virtually instantly and virtually anonymously.

    What? There is such a thing? None of this will be an issue John once Bitcoin evolves as it surely will.

  5. Sorry it’s OT but does anyone know anything about Greek Debt Rescue , apparently an initiative for individuals to buy up Greek debt and presumably save the country from the Troika? I read it in the comments on Grauniad’s Eurozone crisis live bit.

  6. Pingback: John Ward – The RBS Glitch : Hester’s Hijackers Go From The Ridiculous To The Incredible – 4 July 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  7. Oh dear I can’t read, it’s actually Greece Debt Free and seems to be some kind of US tax dodge scheme in return for buying some Greek debt- all very kind and helpful, and oh yes, don’t they have some oil and gas and stuff over there??

  8. A person I know in mortgaging finance has been having a lot of bother with various banks over the paper work. Excuses abound about why they can’t go ahead, they haven’t received the details, there is yet another form to fill in, they sent it all back & are surprised that it hasn’t been received, they are waiting for this, that & the other, etc….. He feels that there is something funny going on, like they haven’t got any money?
    Oh dear…..

    • The RBS/NatWest saga is one of many ‘strange’ things that have been happenning over the past few weeks (for eaxmple my wife got call from Santander almost begging her to open a current account and move her salary, etc to them; I keep getting desperate messages from my local Lloyds branch wanting to rope me into some investment schemes needless to say we ignored both)

      • Happening over here in the USA.
        TBTJ banks pushing hard for account transfers,investment ,
        and merchant account pitches.
        Banks invariably make mistakes in their favour.. Drawing payroll
        from Midland over many years there were frequent “mistakes” on
        the draw,.10:1 in Midland’s favour..Have the exact same problem with
        my US bank now.10:1 error rate in their favour.
        Strange that.
        Not a new problem though.

    • Had exactly the same problem 18months ago with Natwest who lost/never received the request from the bank I wished to transfer my account to. Not even after the paperwork requesting transfer was re-sent, three times. Eventually- after 3 months- Natwest finally let go of my money. Clearly they didnt have it to transfer, which is what I’d guessed at the time.

  9. Barbara, maybe the way out is for the UK to put themselves once again on a war footing, and bring back rationing. Some international agreements may make you vulnerable to being sued for loss of income by multi nationals, but surely a war footing would nullify those agreements. To me it is a war now. Parliament needs to decide if they are with us or against us.

  10. Banks do have “glitches” and they do make mistakes. Luckily I have not experienced the former, (and the scale of it is truly astounding), but with mistakes, I point them out. Repeatedly. I ask for compensation, just as they would wilfully take their compensation when I eff it up by being overdrawn or whatever it might be. In then end they pay. Be vigilant. Take notes. Record what you do. Present your evidence. Persevere.

  11. as the square mile operates under its own rules and as today is the 4th of july we need a declaration of independence from the square mile ..it would only formalise what is already reality!

  12. @ John Ward. Nice pick up regarding Santander UK online banking problems ! I saw some anecdotal comments Tuesday about Santander yesterday – however , your blog was the first confirmation of their problems . Of course the MSM has NOT commented on this yet ….. Great job as always !

  13. @JW: You’re right to say that the benefits of the RBS cock-ups all accrued to themselves – at least those we know about. This obviously points to it being a stage-managed cock-up. But given the immense and ongoing consequences of what’s happened, it must have been very very serious for them to have taken such drastic actions. We can only speculate on what this might have been. It’s also possible that their systems were somehow infected with malware which forced them to take down the whole lot to clean them up and then bring them back up one-by-one. Malware can take time to identify. The malware could easily have originated in India where RBS outsources some of its IT systems management; India is a hotbed of malware.

  14. O/T.Democracy Live.2.00pm.will Diamond Bob spill the beans?Will Garry and his henchmen be called to account?How come Maltese Marcus is back in place?Why was multi millionaire Fritz dethroned ? Was it the Indonesian drugs money laundering? What were the instructions from Moscow to MarK? How did Pavlov conspire to rig the markets,whilst staying in the shadows,and buy a super dooper house without a capped and collared Barclays mortgage?

  15. John’s explanation holds water. RBS’s definitely doesn’t. The RBS group follow Project Management and ITIL v3 procedures and protocols. If RBS’s explanation is correct, it means that Change Management, which is a big department in RBS and Risk Management protocols were ignored, It would mean the software upgrade went ahead without an authorisation code from Change Management. It would mean that there was no roll back strategy (in the event that something went wrong) and it would mean quite a few people were involved, because there is network diversity amongst the different groups you can’t just press a button and hey presto.

  16. Pingback: LIBOR SCAM: RBS ‘fighting tooth & nail to hide secrets’ in key Libor/Yen case | A diary of deception and distortion

  17. Pingback: John Ward – Libor Scam : RBS ‘Fighting Tooth & Nail To Hide Secrets’ In Key Libor/Yen Case – 17 July 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

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