RBS praised for quick clean-up of IT meltdown

Tim Wallace
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THE ROYAL Bank of Scotland (RBS) reacted quickly and effectively to its IT crisis in late June, an influential committee of MPs has declared today – but now bears a major responsibility to restore faith in the system.

The Treasury Select Committee has published a series of letters to and from RBS boss Stephen Hester and FSA head Lord Turner, revealing the steps the bank and regulators took to clean up the meltdown, which left tens of thousands of customers without key services.

Hester in particular received praise for his rapid response to the crisis, including immediately agreeing to waive all fees and charges related to the problems, and working with credit ratings agencies to ensure customers did not lose out.

“Mr Hester took swift action to remedy the failure; he also took full responsibility on behalf of RBS. He did the right thing,” said committee chairman Andrew Tyrie.

A full report into the breakdown is set to be published by RBS this year, while the FSA has also commissioned an independent review.

But the episode also has implications for the wider industry.

“Every bank should be checking its IT systems. We need to have confidence that such a failure cannot happen again,” said Tyrie.