June 25 - The CEO of UK bank RBS has apologized after a technical glitch last week prevented many of the banks customers accessing their accounts. Sonia Legg reports.
Open late and at the weekend - that's almost unheard of in Britain. But this is no ordinary situation. 1,200 branches of Nat West, RBS and Ulster Bank have extended their opening hours to deal with a backlog of inquiries and problems. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NAT WEST CUSTOMER SAYING: "I have recently got married and I have been trying to change my name about three times but i have juts given up because the queues are getting quite long in there." (SOUNDBITE) (English) NAT WEST CUSTOMER SAYING: "I have missed standing orders, I have missed direct debits so these companies - you know with my credit limit - that's what I am worried about." A regular software update last Tuesday night caused the bank's payment processing system to fail. It was quickly corrected but the backlog of unprocessed transactions has now lasted almost a week. That's left some customers unable to access their money or, in some cases, complete business deals. RBS has been forced to waive overdraft fees and charges on current accounts. It's also paying millions of pounds in overtime to thousands of its staff. And it could face demands for compensation from customers from other banks who may have suffered from the knock-on effects. Stephen Hester is the group's CEO. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STEPHEN HESTER, RBS CEO, SAYING: "Our response to this is the many thousands of people we have around the UK, in the technology centre here which I have been visiting, in our calls centres, in our branches, they're all apologising to customers as am I. But most importantly we are all working flat out to clear the backlog and after the event to try and make sure it doesn't happen again." The banking group has been owned by the tax-payer since it was bailed out in 2008. It has almost 17 million customers. On Monday RBS insisted it was making progress and normal service wasn't far away. Sonia Legg, Reuters