It was HSBC’s turn in the spotlight this week after experiencing significant disruption to its on-line banking service, affecting both business and personal banking customers. HSBC has emphasised that the problems were not the result of any sort of external interference, blaming “a complex technical issue within our systems”: it’s not clear if that is meant to be reassuring! As of last night the bank reported that services were returning to normal although they could not discount the possibility of some customers still experiencing difficulties.
Whilst the immediate criticism is focused on HSBC, particularly after a previous disruption in August of last year; this is only the latest in a long series of high-profile IT disruptions within the banking sector including Barclays (October 2015), The Bank of England (October 2014) and RBS (August 2012 and March 2013). This has led Andrew Tyrie MP, the head of the Treasury Select Committee to comment that “The frequency of these failures across the financial services sector suggests a systemic weakness in IT infrastructure.” He goes on to state that “I will be asking the chief executive of HSBC, and the regulators, for an explanation of these failures and action taken to sort them out.”