RBS Says Computer Failure Is Unrelated to Last Year’s Breakdown

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain’s biggest taxpayer-owned lender, said yesterday’s computer failure that left customers unable to access their accounts was unrelated to a similar breakdown last year that cost it 125 million pounds ($188 million).

The hardware fault, which also affected its NatWest and Ulster Bank units, has been fixed and all services are “running as normal again,” the Edinburgh-based bank, which is 81 percent owned by the British government, said in a statement today. RBS said it was “disappointed that our customers have faced disruption to banking services for a period yesterday evening.”

RBS was hit by a computer failure at its consumer bank in June 2012 that left many of its 17 million customers unable to access their accounts for days. That glitch prompted the Financial Services Authority to send letters to the U.K.’s nine largest banks and building societies, reminding them of their regulatory obligations and urging them to have robust information-technology systems in place.

“This problem was caused by a hardware fault and was not related to the issues we experienced last summer,” RBS said in the statement. “It was much easier to fix, though clearly an unacceptable failure.”

RBS has said it will pay fees, charges and debt interest incurred in error as a result of the 2012 incident. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester said on June 29 that he would forgo his bonus for 2012 following the failure.

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