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RBS don't seem to understand basic book-keeping rules

RBS is reported as saying that all Customer Accounts are back to normal.


They may well be from a monetary perspective, but the data still remains
corrupt.

I now have on my Business Account 3 BACS credits, one for nearly £500, all with a
generic description of “RBS TRANS 220612”, which fails to identify the Customer
or the Invoice number. As I have over 200 Customers who might have paid me last week, I can’t be sure which ones these represent.

Furthermore I now have a Direct Debit for over £220 with the same
description “RBS TRANS 220612” even though it was raised on 25th June. I don’t
know who has raised the Direct Debit, nor what for – I’ve never had a D/D for
this amount before.

I presume some programmer somewhere has simply decided to apply a generic
description when they’ve lost the original description – the Bank balance is
presumably now correct, but it means I can’t reconcile my Ledgers.

6704

Comments: (9)

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 28 June, 2012, 06:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The following day I had 4 more 'anonymous' BACS Credits. Contacted Stephen Hester's Office (I'm not bothering with local Branch Management, they know nothing) and they had no knowledge of it, so said they would investigate it.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 29 June, 2012, 13:17Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@KeithA: 

Am I right in concluding that, when all was well, you were actually able to make out your customer's name and your invoice number for all electronic receipts? I've never managed this with any of my banks and I've heard several companies complain that remittance information supplied by most banks is too meager to satisfy the needs of their AR recon systems / people. It may not be the best of times to say this, but it does appears that, until it was hit by its present crisis a week ago, RBS was doing better than many other banks in this department. I'm a bit curious to know what narration RBS uses normally - obviously something other than the wildcard  “RBS TRANS 220612” - that delivers such rich information. You can take your time replying in case you're busy sorting out your "here and now" recon problems.

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 29 June, 2012, 13:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Ketheraman,

I'm running a Childrens Pre-School Nursery, where either the Parents themselves and/or their Employer will pay the Childcare Fees electronically.

To reconcile the Account I need to know the name of the Child (sometimes I get the name of the Parent) : here's a couple of examples [names changed] of what I usually see :

JOHN SMITH LTD , M.SMITH JUN-JUL 23/06/12

SODEXO MOTIVATION , RUFUS BROWN

It all depends what the Payer puts into the Transaction Reference. What I don't see is their Bank Account details (I've no need to). 

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 29 June, 2012, 17:27Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@KeithA:

Thank you for explaining. I was previously under the impression that RBS, by itself, was somehow able to convey to you the payer's name (which seems possible although most banks don't do it) and your invoice # (which did appear a bit magical!). I now understand that, at 'steady state', RBS was merely faithfully conveying to you what each payor had entered in the reference field of their respective e-payment instructions. And, in the present turbulent phase, RBS is not even doing that, and is instead substituting individual payor-entered narrations with a standard wildcard. That's surely a disaster! Best wishes with your reconciliation! One question: Under steady state, if a certain payor(s) had failed to enter any Personally Identifiable Information in their reference field(s), how were you reconciling their receipt(s)?

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 29 June, 2012, 18:26Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

If a payer failed to enter any Personally Identifiable Information, then they would need to bring in a copy of their Bank Statement to show their payment, and we would attempt to reconcile on Date & Amount after all other Clients had been accounted for.

At present, of the 7 anonymous credits, we think we've accounted for 3 of them, but the other 4 are unidentifiable - for example the largest of the transactions the amount (£486) is almost certainly for 2 siblings, but we've got lots of family 'pairs' on the books.

It couldn't happen at a worse time of year; we're only 3 weeks away from our year end, and 30% of our clients leave each year (often with arrears), so it'll be particularly difficult were 2 families to both claim the £486 credit.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 29 June, 2012, 19:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@KeithA:

Thanks. It's clear that, even under steady state, narrations used by payers is the sole method by which you / a "merchant" can reconcile receipts. That highlights one of the fundamental hurdles to mainstream adoption of ePayments and reinforces my personal view that cheques won't go away in a hurry: While you can impress upon your customers to use full narrations like the ones you've indicated, what happens if some of their banks don't support long enough field lengths for them to be able to do so? I faced exactly this problem when my HSBC UK ePayment form didn't allow me to enter the full narration required by my building management company for rent payment. It was 4-5 years ago but I remember that I had to enter something like "MCS MERIDIAN CLIENT ACCOUNT A62" but all the form allowed me was "MCS MER CLT AC". With such a cryptic reference, I feared that I'd have to spend a lot of time proving to the company that I'd made the payment. As a result, I actually gave up on ePayments in that instance and started using cheques - on the back of which I could write lot more than the minimum transaction details required by the company.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 02 July, 2012, 13:49Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Seen this reported in other blogs/forums and it's a nightmare for any business that relies on the statement narrative to reconcile their accounts to customers.

If I were in your position I would get the direct debit returned, then demand they supply details of the credits, work out how much time you spend on the problem and then bill them for your time.

Remember you shouldn't be out of pocket. Just my tuppence worth.

 

 

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 03 July, 2012, 12:15Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The final update : Stephen Hesters office contacted me on Saturday (just proves they were working over the weekend rather than going to Wimbledon), I gave them full details of the offending transactions, and this morning (Tuesday) they were able to give me full transaction reference descriptions to enable reconciliation - so at least that data hadn't been lost or overwritten.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 03 July, 2012, 13:38Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

That's about the most encouraging thing I've heard / read about this whole saga:

"The final update : Stephen Hesters office contacted me on Saturday (just proves they were working over the weekend rather than going to Wimbledon), I gave them full details of the offending transactions, and this morning (Tuesday) they were able to give me full transaction reference descriptions to enable reconciliation - so at least that data hadn't been lost or overwritten".

It's good to hear that the full data is still available.  Still cannot get over this story (how long has this been going on?  ten days, or more?).  No time, now there's Libor, Barclays and lots of soon to be announced banks!

Keith Appleyard

Keith Appleyard

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