Millions of Nat West current account customers have been told that its services are “returning to normal” after a computer glitch at parent company RBS disrupted the finances of thousands of people, with wages going unpaid, student loans not arriving and direct debits being missed.
1,200 Nat West branches opened on a Sunday for the first time yesterday, as the bank struggled to deal with the backlog of problems caused by the technical problem. Opening hours have also been extended today.
In another embarrassing twist, Nat West’s online ‘ideas bank’ was besieged by hundreds of dismayed customers who hadn’t been able to pay bills, buy food or travel to work. “You have stuffed us, “said one customer, while another commented “I'm closing my account and buying gold. I don't trust this bank nor any of them anymore. They all lie, cheat and steal. Pay you no interest. Then charge you late payment charges. I'm done.”
The bank has informed customers that “no customers will be permanently out of pocket as a result” of the problem, meaning that those who bank with Nat West will be reimbursed for any late payment fees and the like that they incurred during the debacle, eventually.
To add insult to injury, the bank’s emergency headline was a paid-for 0845 number rather than a Freephone 0800 equivalent, even though the bank said it would reimburse the cost of calling.
However, customers of fellow RBS organisation Ulster Bank have been told that the situation is likely to drag on for another few days at least.
WHAT THE FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN SERVICE HAS TO SAY ABOUT ALL OF THIS
• Anyone out of pocket owing to a technical or systems failure has certain rights
• Banks should put customers back into the position they were in had the problem not occurred
• That does not mean extra compensation is a right
• Anyone affected should let the bank know about their situation as soon as possible
• Customers should check to see if any payments due from an account have bounced
• They should also keep a record of how the problem has affected them - just in case a formal complaint is required later