The Treasury Committee today published an exchange of letters between its Chairman, Andrew Tyrie MP, and the Chief Executive of RBS Group, Stephen Hester, and between Mr Tyrie and the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Lord Turner, regarding the recent IT failures affecting RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers.
The recent IT failure at RBS Group affected millions of individuals and a wide range of businesses in the UK and Ireland.
It was not just RBS customers who suffered. The problems, and the confusion they caused, threatened to infect the rest of the banking system.
For some, the consequences were very severe.
The ability of retail and corporate customers to obtain access to funds and other payment facilities is crucial.
This episode, and the initial confusion surrounding it, did little for public confidence in our banks.
Mr Hester took swift action to remedy the failure; he also took full responsibility on behalf of RBS. He did the right thing.
Those affected now need clear and straightforward information to enable them to seek redress.
The Committee will doubtless want to look closely at RBS’ final report when it is published to ensure that any systemic weaknesses and governance issues are adequately addressed, both by the bank and by the FSA.
Every bank should be checking its IT systems. We need to have confidence that such a failure cannot happen again.