Mar 7 2013
Furious NatWest customers have deluged the bank with complaints after an IT hitch blocked them from accessing their cash the second time in nine months.
The problems, which also affected sister firms Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Ulster Bank, follow a huge computer meltdown last summer which cost parent company RBS Group £175 million to put right.
Customers started reporting problems at around 9pm on Wednesday night, which meant that they were barred from accessing money at ATMs, with reports of some having their cards "swallowed" at cashpoints. Online and telephone banking services were also disrupted.
The bank has apologised and said that the issue was resolved by around 1am, although some customers complained on NatWest's website that they were still having problems. Others also vented their annoyance that they had stuck with the bank only to be hit with the second IT collapse in less than a year.
A section of NatWest's website where people can suggest ideas was swamped by a string of complaints, some of which referred to the bank's "helpful banking" slogan.
One customer wrote: "I can't get to work as card declined on train, so lost a day's wage and (you) expect me to pay to call for info!"
Another said: "Really upset that NatWest comms have failed yet again. We understand that things sometimes go wrong - but 'helpful banking' is all about helping people and communicating with them. After last year's fiasco I stuck with you, but now I'm not going to..."
A customer also said that they had spent half an hour in a call waiting queue on the phone after having their card declined "before giving up".
The group could not say how many of the 17 million personal banking customers of NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank had been affected by the problems or exactly what caused them.
A statement from RBS Group said: "We are disappointed that our customers have faced disruption to banking services for a period yesterday evening, and apologise for that. All services are now running as normal again. If any customers are having continued difficulties please call on 0845 7242424 if an RBS customer or 0845 7888 444 if a NatWest customer so we can resolve their issues."