RBS and NatWest Web services knocked out; Oslo Bors hit by DDoS attack

RBS and NatWest Web services knocked out; Oslo Bors hit by DDoS attack

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and its NatWest and Ulster Bank subsidiaries have been hit by "technical issues" that have left customers unable to access online services.

In a statement, RBS says: "We are currently experiencing technical issues which mean that a number of customer account balances have not yet been updated and some of our online services are temporarily unavailable."

A similar message appears on the NatWest Web site, with the bank adding: "We are working hard to fix this issue as soon as possible and will keep you updated on progress. We are experiencing very high call volumes as a result."

In a later update, RBS has revealed that the issue "was caused by a failure of our systems to properly update customers' balances overnight. The main problem customers are having is that where people have had money go into their accounts overnight, there may be a delay in it showing up on their balance."

The problems have been ongoing for several hours, with NatWest first acknowledging the issue on its Twitter feed at 08.43, eliciting responses from customers complaining that payments have not been processed and wages not paid.


By 13.32 there appeared to be no fix in sight, with RBS stating on Twitter it hoped to have resolved the issue "within the next few hours".


The ongoing crisis has forced the bank to take drastic measures, promising to keep over 1000 branches open until 19:00BST on Thursday to assist short-changed customers.

Daoud Fakhri, a senior analyst at Datamonitor says the episode is emblematic of wider problems facing the banking sector as a whole.

"Many providers, being early adopters of IT systems when the technology was still in its infancy, have been left saddled with inflexible core systems that are often several decades old, and that are increasingly unable to cope with the demands being placed on them," he says. "The growing expectations of consumers around online and mobile banking means that the tensions between the provision of ever more sophisticated services and the capability of core systems to satisfy these demands are close to breaking point, and this increases the likelihood of episodes such as the NatWest mishap happening again.

Separately, the Web site of Norwegian bourse Oslo Børs has been knocked off line, apparently by a DDoS attack. Spokesman Per Eikrem told local outlet NTB that the hit is only affecting the exchange's site and not its trading, messaging or monitoring systems.

Comments: (3)

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 21 June, 2012, 15:071 like 1 like

At 14:45 there was no announcement on RBS website. My account is switching over to Santander, and my RBS Internet Banking was working fine for Account Enquiry. I noted that on the Logon page my UserId was prefilled - that's never been there before.

Meanwhile an RBS automated VR system called me 90 minutes ago and asked me to verify that the last 5 Internet & Mail Order transactions I'd made over the last 3 days were indeed made by me (they had been)? Never had that before.

Makes you wonder what is the nature of the problems they are having ....

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 21 June, 2012, 15:121 like 1 like

[commentDaoud Fakhri, a senior analyst at Datamonitor says the episode is emblematic of wider problems facing the banking sector as a whole.

"Many providers, being early adopters of IT systems when the technology was still in its infancy, have been left saddled with inflexible core systems that are often several decades old, and that are increasingly unable to cope with the demands being placed on them,"[/commet]

The core system is fine. Its just a big accounting engine (having worked for RBS IT for 8 years, Natwest prior to that). More likely the quality of the support staff/developers given that anyone with any experience has been made redundent and their jobs shipped over to Mumbai.

Having worked on the migration from NW to RBS I dont think its ever a good idea to move to a more "flexible" system. It was complicated enough moving from a complex system to a simple one ! Just re-engineer the one you have.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 22 June, 2012, 15:33Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Literally hundreds of other banks and financial institutions don't seem to be having such problems despite many of their development and support staff being located in Mumbai / Bangalore / Hyderabad / Chennai / Pune / Manila / Latvia, etc. Having witnessed first hand the problems caused by the collision of mobile and web technologies with decades-old mainframe-based accounting systems masquerading as core banking systems at other banks, I'd bet my bottom dollar on Datamonitor's prognosis.

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