Speaking to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on 8 January 2014, Sam Woods, director of UK regulator the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) condemned technology at UK banks as “antiquated”.
He reported that the regulatory body had “discovered a number of deficiencies” at the firms and that as a consequence there was a “programme of remediation under way.”
The trigger for Woods’ investigation had been the technology failings at RBS Group at the end of 2013 and in 2012.
Addressing these failings, Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive, had said in a statement on 3 December 2013, “For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems. We need to put our customers' needs at the centre of all we do. It will take time, but we
are investing heavily in building IT systems our customers can rely on.”
There has long been talk of banks replacing their old core banking platforms, but it has rarely come about. The risk involved has been cited as the reason for not making the leap.
The tired analogy has been of ‘changing an aeroplane’s engines in flight’, although it would now appear that the banks are ‘changing an aeroplane’s engines as it plummets toward the ground.’ Never has the risk of not taking a decision been clearer.
It will be interesting to hear what the PRA’s programme of remediation involves in due course. The PRA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority commissioned a very detailed report under a thing called a Section 166 power into what went wrong at RBS,
however due to the commercial nature of information involved, this is unlikely to ever be made public.
RBS took a hit on its websites over the Christmas period, but the cost wasn't all the bank's or its customers. I have been told that, at about 1p per gigabyte per second, a bot net which has a total capability of 1 terabytes per second essentially
costs £10 per second to use.
Paying for the recent RBS/Natwest outages would have cost £36,000 per hour. Who has the money to do that?