Problems with the computer system at RBS Group will not be properly fixed for days, the taxpayer-controlled banking giant admitted today.
To rising frustration among account-holders whose funds have been frozen since last Wednesday, the £6bn-a-year group said that it was still struggling to restore a full service to its 17 million customers.
Customers of the group’s three retail brands, RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank, have been hit by a calamitous computer upgrade that left them unable to withdraw money, delaying some home moves and disrupting others' holidays.
RBS Group said the vast majority of NatWest and RBS accounts affected were not free from disruption, but it admitted that some were still experiencing difficulties – along with 100,000 Ulster Bank customers.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm that the small amount of outstanding unprocessed transactions continues to reduce, and significant further progress is expected. As previously cautioned, however, progress towards a completely normal service is likely to be affected by the significant stress on the system over recent days.”
The group - 82 per cent owned by the state after a multi-billion pound bailout in 2008 – hoped to restore a normal service by Monday.
In an attempt to sort out the mess, the group has cancelled corporate hospitality at Wimbledon, extended branch hours and doubled the number of call centre staff.
Speculation has mounted over the cause of the problem, with unconfirmed reports pointing the finger at an inexperienced technician in India, where RBS has recently outsourced work.
Patience was wearing thin among some customers. One wrote on NatWest's website: “Since last Tuesday not been able to access (my) account balance at all from my local cashpoint. Keeps telling me: 'Contact your bank'. Not easy when every other customer is trying to do the same. Card and service useless…”
Another said they had endured ”eight days of hassle“ and were still waiting for money to be credited.
The customer wrote: ”I have kept calm for eight days but I'm getting rather sick off it now.“