A flawed computer programme of the U.K. bank NatWest, which was being supervised by an IT support team in India, was behind the chaos for thousands of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) customers after it encountered a problem in its transaction processing software. The banking giant was urgently seeking computer graduates with several years experience of using CA-7, the programme which the bank uses to run its vast network of transactions and accounts.
The RBS had reportedly advertised for a series of key jobs at the bank, paying between 9,000 and 11,000 pound a year, in the Indian city of Hyderabad, which is way below what an equivalent worker is normally paid in Britain.
The job advertisement read: ‘Looking for candidates having 4-7 years of experience in Batch Administration using CA-7 tool. Urgent requirement by RBS.’ According to the Daily Mail, the technology website, ‘The Register’, claimed that the transaction software, CA-7, needed to be updated, and the Indian staff, who were employed by the bank, needed to oversee the software, round the clock to solve any faults.
Problems began on Tuesday last when the CA-7 was being updated, when some crucial files were deleted in the process. While the bank authorities spotted the error, but the same technical snag was repeated on Wednesday and again on Thursday.
It was only on Friday when the bank staff realised the full scale of the crisis, were urgent calls made to the Indian IT staff and trouble-shooters were drafted in.
The problem was that every single transaction that was waiting in the queue had to be reprocessed in strict order of arrival, causing further delays over last weekend.
However, the RBS has consistently denied that the decision to relocate jobs to India has made any difference to its handling of the situation, and denied that its controversial job outsourcing programme has been responsible for the transaction processing fiasco.
It merely claimed that the ‘software error occurred on a U.K.-based piece of software’, but declined to clarify where the staff overseeing the software were based.
Computer Associates, which owns CA-7, declined to comment on what had caused the problem.
The fiasco is believed to be the longest and most widespread problem of its kind since the advent of computer banking.