08 February 2016

UK banks a "long way" from improving antiquated IT systems - PRA director

09 January 2014  |  5889 views  |  2 Bank of england

The UK banking sector is a "long way away" from addressing deficiencies in "antiquated" IT systems, a senior Bank of England official has told a parliamentary inquiry.

Sam Woods, a director in the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), was giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster.

Asked about a recent series of IT meltdowns at RBS/Ulster Bank, Woods said that an enforcement investigation into the issue was ongoing and that the failures at RBS had prompted the PRA to quiz other banks about their own infrastructures.

The probe revealed a number of unspecified "deficiencies", Woods told the Committee, adding that programmes to address the shortcomings were underway.

At RBS, says Woods, remedial measures introduced following a major breakdown in its systems in 2012 had helped the bank to recover from a recent serious outage in December which left customers unable to withdraw money from ATMs, pay at the point-of-sale or access online and mobile services on the busiest shopping day of the year.

At the time, RBS chief Ross McEwan admitted that the bank had failed to invest properly in its IT system for decades.

Woods told the Committee that although the deficiencies in bank IT infrastructures had been identified, many were using such "antiquated" systems that it would be years before the sector was back on-track.

"I feel we are a very long away from being able to sit here with confidence and say that the UK banks' IT systems are robust," he said.

Comments: (2)

Ludger William - Oney Banque Accord - Lille | 10 January, 2014, 10:24

Could this lack of investment be ROI's fault ?....CFO shouldn't take lead over CTO on such topics.

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Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 10 January, 2014, 17:44

Unless vendors get their acts together, CTOs might not want to take the risk of putting their necks on the chopping block by taking the lead on such topics:

6 Reasons Why Banks Can't Transform Legacy Applications

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