Lloyds Banking Group suffered a system failure just hours ahead of New Year's eve celebrations, where customers complained that they were not able to withdraw cash from ATMs or complete transactions when paying by debit card.
Those banking with Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, all of which are part-owned by the taxpayer after a bail-out during the financial crisis in 2008, complained that they were unable to view their balances and or make any payments.
A spokesperson for the Group said that the problem was 'intermittent' and was fixed within an hour.
The problems resulted in many customers taking to Twitter to vent their anger. One user, Lee Weedall (@CheekyLee), said: "Spectacular cock-up, Lloyds TSB! To lose your systems on New Year's Eve? You're going to be hated!"
@Scottyf82 complained: "Anyone with Halifax, Lloyds TSB, enjoy new year. Systems are down, so no money for anybody tonight!
Charles Turner (@Charliedevjobs) tweeted: "So Lloyds decide to have their systems crash just over 6 hours before new year... Interesting tactic! #lloyds #whereismymoney."
The failure will once again draw attention to the creaking mainframe systems in the financial sector, which have been put under scrutiny after Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) experienced an IT meltdown last year that led to customers unable to gain access to their finances for weeks.
RBS has recently said that its failure will cost the bank at least £175 million.
Lloyds Banking Group has said, however, that this was an isolated problem that it was able to quickly rectify on New Year's eve.
"For a short period between 4pm and 5pm. some customers experienced intermittent problems with viewing their current account balances and completing payment transactions," said a spokesperson for the bank.
"We were able to quickly identify the root cause and all services were fully restored within the hour. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers."
Michal Allen, director of APM at Compuware, has said, however, that IT failures in the banking sector will continue.
"The problem is that IT systems have become vastly more complex. Delivering money at a cashpoint could be reliant on 20 different IT systems. Even if a small change is made to one of these systems, it can cause major problems for the whole banking service," said Allen.
"We will continue to see problems like this happening unless performance and quality is engineered in IT applications while architecting, developing and testing new systems. Even then, problems can and will occur and so it's equally important companies have the ability to react and solve problems in minutes, not hours," Allen warned.
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