(Adds more detail, background)
By Huw Jones
LONDON, March 28 Britain's financial regulators
will examine whether computer systems used by the country's
banks and building societies are fit for purpose, after a
succession of problems which left millions of customers unable
to get any cash.
Royal Bank of Scotland customers could not make or
receive payments in March 2013, which followed a fault nine
months earlier that cost 175 million pounds to rectify and
prompted the lender's chief executive to waive his bonus.
Separately tens of thousands of Lloyds customers
were unable to use their debit cards and ATM cash machines for
several hours on a Sunday in January.
The Financial Conduct Authority, the Bank of England and its
Prudential Regulation Authority will launch the review to be
concluded by early 2015, the FCA said in a statement on Friday.
"To access and manage our money we depend on the banks' IT
systems to be reliable. But IT outages continue, interrupting
key banking services," Clive Adamson, FCA director of
"We want to make sure that the banks have resilient IT
systems in place that are able to cope with consumer demand, so
customers aren't left financially stranded or disadvantaged,"
The investigation will also look at how engaged boards at
banks are with the issue of IT resilience and whether they have
the expertise needed to challenge the decisions taken by the
The probe follows letters sent by regulators to the chairmen
of the nine biggest banks and building societies in 2012, asking
how resilient their computer systems are and what concerns they
have, the FCA said.
The review will assess what progress has been made so far by
the banks and whether more needs to be done.
Andy Haldane, a senior official at the Bank of England, has
suggested a common network for the banks to ensure adequate
investment and make it easier for competition in banking to
flourish, a step Lloyds Banking has said would turn any
fault into a network-wide failure.
(Reporting by Huw Jones, Chris Vellacott; Editing by Greg