East Anglia: Technical problems continue to hamper Natwest customers

A BANKING group said it is “working round the clock” to fix technical problems for NatWest customers before the weekend begins.

Large numbers of customers from across East Anglia are thought to have been affected by the hitches since Wednesday, and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group said that many will still only see yesterday’s balances showing up on their accounts today.

Angry customers have vented their frustration about the problems, which are also affecting Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank users, with some finding that they had supermarket deliveries stopped and others having holidays or home purchases disrupted.

Businessman Mark Piper, from Ipswich, is one of the many people affected.

He said: “Our whole business banking is with Natwest and we have not been able to access online banking to know the situation regarding our payments, processing payments or orders which has influenced our ability to know about things such as payment of staff.

“It’s caused complete and utter chaos and there’s no real indication of the end being in sight.”

Janet Webber, from Stowmarket, has also had payments affected because of the glitch.

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She said: “Staff in the bank can’t tell me what’s gone in or out due to the problems but they’ve said the bank will be open both days during the weekend.

“The worry is that people are spending money that’s not in their account they could go overdrawn but you’d hope the bank wouldn’t charge.”

Account balances are not being updated properly overnight, meaning that credit and debit payments are not showing up as quickly as they should, although an RBS Group spokeswoman said the money is “in the system”.

She said that even if people go into their branch, they may not see the most up-to-date information on their balances, although staff are “geared up” to help customers who are having problems using their accounts.

Fears have been raised that thousands of customers could be hit with penalty charges if their regular household bill payments such as mortgage payments are affected.

The banking group has promised that no one will be out of pocket and the spokeswoman said that anyone who incurs such a penalty as a result of the problems should contact their branch.

The RBS Group spokeswoman said: “Our technicians are working round the clock. It is obviously a priority. That’s what we’re hoping to achieve.”

A statement placed by NatWest on its website today told customers: “Unfortunately we are once again experiencing technical issues with our systems and account balances have not updated properly overnight.

“This means where money has gone into a customer’s account, there may be a delay in it appearing on their balance.

“We can assure our customers that this problem is strictly of a technical nature and we continue to work hard to resolve this.

“We also recognise this is an unacceptable inconvenience for our customers, for which we apologise.”

A spokeswoman for UK Payments Administration, which oversees payments generally, said the problem was not a central one and therefore it did not appear to have affected other banks.

But anyone expecting payments from people or businesses which bank with NatWest and RBS could encounter delays due to the technical issues at their end, she said.

Have you experienced problems? Email lauren.everitt@archant.co.uk