IT blackout affects Nationwide customers

Nationwide suffered an IT blackout this morning.
Nationwide suffered an IT blackout this morning.

Thousands of Nationwide customers were left unable to use the full service this morning following an IT blackout.

The failure hit Britain’s biggest building society’s mobile and online banking for two hours between 6.30am and 8.30am and left customers unable to log on to the services.

The firm, which runs 5.7 million accounts, said the issue has now been fixed and it apologised for any inconvenience caused to its customers.

Nationwide said: “We are aware of an issue that meant some customers were unable to access the internet and mobile banks for a short period this morning. We have resolved the issue and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

It added that throughout this period, customers could use their cards to pay for goods and access their accounts at automated cash points.

A number of banks and financial service companies have been caught up in IT blackouts in recent years as their computer systems become increasingly complex.

Last November, the Royal Bank of Scotland was hit with a £56 million fine from the Bank of England and City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after a computer failure in 2012 saw as many as 6.5 million customers unable to make payments for as much as three weeks. The outage hit customers at NatWest and Ulster Bank, which RBS also owns.

Last March, the FCA launched a report into the amount of time resources boards at financial services firms devote to the resilience of their IT systems.

At the time the watchdog said: “To access and manage our money we depend on the banks’ IT systems being reliable.

“We want to make sure that the banks have resilient IT systems in place that are able to cope with consumer demand, so customers aren’t left financially stranded or disadvantaged.”

The report will look at how banks and building societies manage their exposure to IT risks, how engaged boards at banks are with the issue of IT resilience and whether they have the expertise needed to challenge related decisions.

The FCA is expected to issue its updated guidance on IT resilience to financial services firms later this year.