Lloyds, Co-Op Fix IT Glitches

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Two separate technical issues left Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Co-Operative customers unable to withdraw cash

Lloyds Banking Group and the Co-Operative Bank have resolved two separate technical faults that left customers unable to withdraw cash from cash machines or access their accounts online on Friday.

Lloyds’ problems affected customers of Lloyds TSB as well as the Halifax, a Lloyds Banking Group subsidiary.

Separate incidents

The two incidents were unrelated, according to the banks, and are not connected to the Co-Op’s recent deal to buy 632 branches from Lloyds Banking Group.

Lloyds said normal service was restored after an hour, although there remained a backlog of transactions affected by the disruption, which were processed by the end of the day. The problems hit on Friday, the busiest time of the week for cash machine withdrawals.

“Lloyds Banking Group experienced technical issues that affected some customers,” the bank said in a statement. “All of our systems are now up and running. We know our customers rely on us, and we apologise for the inconvenience we have caused them.”

The Co-Op said its “temporary issue”, which also affected subsidiary online bank Smile, was fixed after two hours.

“We can confirm that our systems are now fully operational and customers should now be able to use their accounts as normal,” the Co-op stated. “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by this temporary issue.”

Echoes of RBS debacle

The problems follow a major IT outage at the Royal Bank of Scotland in June that affected millions of customers of NatWest, Ulster Bank and RBS, leaving many unable to receive wages or pay bills. That incident affected RBS and NatWest customers for several days, and hit Ulster Bank customers for a month. Many users transferred to the Co-Op following that incident.

Bank customers complained about the outage on microblogging site Twitter, reporting being stranded in shops or pubs without the means to pay for their purchases.

“Just got stuck at a petrol station unable to pay because #lloydstsb has system crash,” wrote a user identified as Kwame Laryea.

“#lloydstsb’s system is down, couldn’t pay for my subway,” wrote another user, identifying himself as Ali.

The crash affecting RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers over the summer is believed to have started with a mistake during a software update of the CA-7 batch processing software RBS uses. Customers at all three banks suffered because of the shared IT infrastructure, and the bank is reported to be considering suing CA.

Serious incident

The seriousness of that problem led the company to take the almost unprecedented step of cancelling its corporate hospitality at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, and pulling the plug on a one day golf tournament at Gleneagles, deeming them “inappropriate”.

RBS set aside £125 million to cover the cost of the IT systems glitch.

Lloyds Banking Group, which is 40 percent owned by the British taxpayer, said in March it would axe a total of 1,600 jobs, including 593 IT positions, many of which will be offshored to India.

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