Having worked for many years as an IT architect in UK banking, the failure of a major banking system like this doesn't come as much of a surprise.
UK banks, while regulated and held to relatively stringent compliance standards take a view on this best described as "pragmatic" - an expression I was to hear time and time again during my time in banking.
What it basically translates to is "if the systems fails, we pay a fine". The fine is usually less than the cost of providing the resilience. The banks even have a fund set aside for such events so that its doesn't damage the bottom-line share price.
Factor in the lack of in-house up-to-date design knowledge and a lack of properly funded out-sourced design (build it quick, dirty, with low-skilled resources and at the lowest cost) and a picture emerges of a gossamer-thin model.
This morning, Finextra has reported the Co-op's business banking system can't even support more than 130 concurrent users. More proof if more was needed that banks can't build systems.
The gutless, toothless FSA should be disbanded ASAP and replaced by a democratically elected regulatory body prepared to remove those responsible for weak systems and banning them from working in a bank again. Only then might we see systems fit for the customers
who use them.