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MPs launch inquiry into “astonishing” number of bank IT meltdowns

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MPs have launched an inquiry into what they describe as an “astonishing” number of IT meltdowns in the financial services sector, not least the high street banks.

The Treasury committee is calling for evidence on the causes of these IT failures. It also plans to examine whether financial services companies can do more to guard against tech disruptions and the measures they are taking to put things right for customers who are affected.

The inquiry will also focus on whether regulators have the relevant skills to hold companies and their management teams to account.

The inquiry follows a challenging 12 months for millions of bank customers who were affected by IT failures at TSB, Barclays, NatWest, and Royal Bank of Scotland – to name a few. Other financial services that have experienced IT disruptions include Visa, Equifax and Cashplus.

Nicky Morgan, who chairs the Treasury Committee, described the number of IT failures as “astonishing”.

“Millions of customers have been affected by the uncertainty and disruption caused by failures of banking IT systems. Measly apologies and hollow words from financial services institutions will not suffice when consumers aren’t able to access their own money and face delays in paying bills,” she explained.

As bank branches continue to close around the UK, Morgan notes the functioning of online services has become vital.

“The committee has launched this inquiry to consider the causes and consequences of these failures, and will examine what industry and regulators are doing to promote operational resilience,” she added.