Fury as NatWest bank glitch drags on

Customers deluged online forums with complaints yesterday, saying that they were unable to pay bills and were concerned about the impact it could have on their credit ratings reports The Telegraph.

The crisis has hit customers at RBS and two of its subsidiaries, NatWest and Ulster, and the bank admitted that the chaos caused by a technical glitch is so severe that it does not even know how many accounts are affected.

Yesterday, more than 1,200 NatWest branches were opened on a Sunday for the first time in its history, while a further 1,000 branches will be open until 7pm today in an attempt to ease the problem.

RBS has pledged to compensate affected customers by refunding overdraft charges or penalty fees incurred because of the computer glitch, and help them deal with credit rating agencies. However, it was not clear how long it would take to make refunds.

The Financial Services Authority, the regulator, urged other banks to be “lenient” with their own customers if they missed payments because transfers from RBS accounts had not come through.

The banks have pledged to refund their customers, but only if they contact them directly and are able to prove they have been hit by the technical failure.

Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Commons Treasury select committee, said: “It seems scarcely credible that something like this, which has caused problems for hundreds of thousands of people, could have gone on for so long. No doubt the committee will want a full explanation.”

Thousands of NatWest customers vented their frustrations on the bank’s website, with many saying they were running short of money to buy food or pay bills. “You have stuffed us,” said one from Corby, Lincs.