NatWest customers are today facing their third day of disruption caused by IT problems at the bank. Some news sites are reporting that the underlying problem has now been fixed, but customers are still being warned to expect delays to the processing of payments: it may be next week before the processing backlog has been fully resolved. Whilst the bank is, of course, attracting criticism for allowing such a serious situation to develop; it would appear that their crisis communications has worked better than in many similar incidents with none of the reports of widespread problems at call centres that have characterised other similar incidents.
The disruption also highlights the importance of considering the resilience of your critical suppliers, with many small businesses reporting that they have been unable to pay staff on time. For example, the owner of QED Scaffolding in St Helens is quoted on the BBC website saying: “I have 200 very angry staff who have not been paid wages through RBS bankline system. They are refusing to go on site and work until payment has been made.” One cannot simply take it for granted that critical suppliers such as banks, internet service providers and utilities companies will deliver uninterrupted service 24/7 so, as far as practical, it is important to have contingency plans in place.