Bank of England stress test results: Lenders braced to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on IT improvements

Tim Wallace
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Stress tests have revealed problems in banks' ability to gather data on their own loan books (Source: Getty)

Britain's biggest banks are set to spend the next year pushing through major revamps of their IT systems, as stress tests have revealed problems in their ability to gather data on their own loan books.

The lenders have been built up over decades from mergers of smaller banks, leaving them with a range of outdated computing systems.
This means they have to gather data in different formats from different sources when giving information to bosses or regulators. This required huge amounts of staff resources for the stress tests over the past six months.
Banks had already been ordered to improve the systems so they could give watchdogs accurate data more quickly and in specified formats.
And the stress tests are set to become annual events, forcing the banks to make that move quicker still.
“The biggest stress this year was doing the exercise, to actually get the results – it was a stress on banks’ staff and systems,” said KPMG’s Steven Hall.
“Firms really struggled to report into the templates, in the way regulators wanted the data sliced and diced.”
It is understood that overhauling the systems is costing one bank as much as $300m (£192m).
“We are trying to make the process less painful next time around – the data at the start wasn’t in the right format,” said a source at another bank.

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