One Reason Why Natwest And RBS' Computer Systems Keep Failing
Customers of the two banks have been unable to access their money. Blame the IT crowd.
RBS and Natwest customers have been unable to withdraw cash, use their debit cards or pay their bills following yet another computer breakdown.
This is the bank's somewhat vague acknowledgement of the problem. They have not clarified what caused the outage.
And here's some customers' more forthright takes.
But why does the RBS system keep failing? The blame lies with this man, according to journalist Iain Martin.
The guiding philosophy of the NatWest integration was that with a merged back room the bank could create and market financial products which could then be sold under the banner of the different brands in the group. So a NatWest customer would remain with the bank, but everything would be run on Royal Bank systems. This posed an enormous challenge for John White, head of IT.
This integration explains why RBS problems affect customers across the group – they all run on the same system.
The Register has previously explained how things are so bad that parts of the old RBS system "had been written in assembler for hardware going back to the 1970s". Essentially, even the modern computer code rests on top of some seriously old programming.
Following last summer's outage RBS decided to spend an extra £450m replacing its creaking computer hardware. But this is not yet online and even then there are separate issues of outdated software.
There were suggestions that parts of the NatWest computer setup might be superior to those in the Royal Bank. To maximise the cost-savings they pressed ahead with the original plan, Goodwin ordering that the systems for managing accounts of NatWest and its subsidiary Ulster Bank be bolted on to those of the Royal Bank in Edinburgh. This process was declared an unqualified success by Goodwin in November 2002 and the press was informed it had been completed ahead of schedule.