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17 December 2013

How endemic is IT underinvestment in UK retail banking?

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has failed to invest properly in its IT systems over the years, leading to a number of high-profile IT failures that have caused customers the ultimate discomfort of being unable to access their own money. But how endemic is this underinvestment in UK retail banking? The latest problems with IT systems at RBS, which also affected NatWest and Ulster Bank customers – the specifics of which are not yet known – stopped customers making online and in-store card payments on Monday 2 December, the busiest shopping day of the year. RBS CEO Ross McEwan said the failure of systems was unacceptable and blamed years of underinvestment in IT for the issues. "For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems. We need to put our customers' needs at the centre of all we do. It will take time, but we are investing heavily in building IT systems our customers can rely on," he said. But as banks charge into the digital world, how can they avoid problems with legacy systems that are out of date and unable to...

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