I'm a person, not a bank: tweeters mistakenly bombard @natwest

I'm a person, not a bank: tweeters mistakenly bombard @natwest

Among the many victims of RBS's systems meltdown over the last few days, the most unusual may be Natalie Westerman, a 22 year old woman who happens to go by the name @natwest on Twitter.

Westerman, a teacher from Newcastle Upon Tyne, has been bombarded with messages from irate customers despite changing her name to 'natwestnotthebank' and adding "I'm a 22 year old woman and I'm not a bank." to her profile.

She has spent the last two days politely and patiently directing misguided tweeters to @natwest_help. Most have apologised, although some have blamed her for using the handle.

Westerman is not the first Tweeter to gain mistaken attention thanks to an ambiguous account. Last year American Ashley Kerekes was inundated with cricket-related messages thanks to her @theashes name.

Meanwhile, RBS says that services are getting back to normal as it works on clearing the backlog of payments that has built up through the last few days. Yesterday, in a Sunday first, 1200 branches were opened and call centre staffing levels doubled to deal with angry customers. Branch hours have again been extended for today.

Chief executive Stephen Hester apologised in a statement and vowed "that no one will be left permanently out of pocket as a result of this, and again, they should contact us directly about this".

Attention is now turning to the cause of the mess, with speculation mounting that problems were exacerbated by RBS's outsourcing of many IT functions to sites in India. According to BBC business editor Robert Peston, citing sources, "there is an implication that outsourcing contributed to the problems - though they won't say whether this is an issue of basic competence or of the complexities of co-ordinating a rescue when a variety of parties are involved".

The Unite union's David Fleming has also linked the tech troubles to outsourcing and job cuts, saying: "Serious questions must be asked as to why constant job cuts are being made when there are clearly serious issues which need addressing by management. Customers and staff have the right to expect more from their bank."

Update: Having dealt with the barrage heroically, Westerman appears to have decided to call time on her customer service career, retiring the @natwest handle.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 25 June, 2012, 14:29Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

So...NatWest finally admits it's not a bank?!