Weekend storms take down HBOS IT systems

Weekend storms take down HBOS IT systems

The severe storms that swept across the UK late Friday caused a power failure at a HBOS data centre in Yorkshire that knocked out the high street bank's cash machines, branches and online banking services.

The disruption to services hit customers at 8am on Saturday morning as they attempted to make banking transactions at the start of one of the busiest weekends in the pre-Christmas shopping calendar.

The bank's entire ATM network went down and customers also found their cards being rejected at the cash machines of other banks and in some shops. Harried shoppers were allowed to withdraw cash up to a maximum of £200 only at the counter, where bank staff were forced to record transaction details using pen and paper.

Power was only restored to the centre via a back-up generator late Saturday morning and normal service restored on the high street by 14.30. Online banking remained offline until 18.30.

Comments: (4)

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 16 November, 2009, 10:17Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I've not been able to find any report of precisely what time the power failure happened, but from the time of the earliest press reports, the service seems to have been out for 4-5 hours?

If it was a simple power failure, there shouldn't have been any customer impact, since batteries & back-up generators should have cut in automatically?

Only if there was a network problem, and they lost connectivity to the datacentre, should there have been this sort of disruption.

I presume they'll be looking hard at their Business Continuity Plan this morning?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 November, 2009, 12:19Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'm surprised at the lack of commentary - HBOS customers and counterparties should be furious about this, surely? Or are we doing what Brits seem to do so easily when sensing a real crisis; bonding together and toughing it out?


Paul Penrose
Paul Penrose - Finextra - London 16 November, 2009, 14:19Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

We've updated the story with more precise timings. The high street was out of action from 8am 'til 14.30 - over six hours downtime on a Saturday is not good for customer relations. Online banking was down for 10 hours.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 November, 2009, 11:02Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

There is still an appalling lack of governance within the UK financial services sector. I have personally experienced the outfall of a severe data loss at Egg, the UK-based internet credit card company, and their establishment-supported attempts to cover-up inaccuracies in their customer account records.

Check out my blog related to this story to understand how the FSA's primary mandate 'to preserve confidence in the UK financial services sector' works against the public interest.