Virgin Money was in the news again on Tuesday when its digital services were hit by technical problems. It is reported that current account customers were unable to make transactions and access their accounts for much of Tuesday, with many expressing their frustration on social media. The timing was particularly unfortunate, coming at the start of a new financial year! The bank apologised on Wednesday, saying that the issue had been dealt with overnight and that services were working normally again.
We have been blogging for many years about IT issues in the banking sector, including a story back in January 2020 about disruption at Virgin brands Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks. Fortunately, now that banks are required to report figures on “Operational and Security Incidents” to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); we are beginning to develop a better understanding of the extent of the problem. Focusing for a second on Virgin Money, they reported 11 incidents in the year to 30th June 2020, including (some of the incidents affected multiple platforms so the numbers don’t add up):
- 10 incidents affecting telephone banking;
- 9 incidents affecting mobile banking; and
- 6 incidents affecting internet banking.
11 incidents in total is certainly at the higher end of the spectrum, although Santander reported 12 in the same period. What is more striking is the high number of disruption to telephone banking, with twice as many incidents as any other banking group. However, it appears that the situation may be improving, with only one reported incident in the last quarter of 2020 (and this didn’t affect telephone banking services).
As we reported last year, there appear to have been some initial data quality issues with the reporting of incidents to the FCA; but hopefully, over time, it will provide a useful dashboard of the state of IT resilience within the sector and drive further improvements.