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HSBC has angered thousands of customers

Hundreds of thousands of HSBC customers have been left without their monthly pay as the multinational bank suffered an IT glitch affecting its commercial and corporate banking platforms.

The outage is believed to have been caused by a flaw in some information sent to Bacs, the system used to process the millions of debit and credit transactions in the UK. HSBC is understood to have contacted the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority over the problem. The problem is believed to also be affecting customers of other banks sending or receiving payments to or from HSBC accounts.

Errors, anger and ruined holiday plans

‘There has been a fault in the information used to process some payments from HSBC business customers,’ the bank said in a statement. ‘Approximately 275,00 payments have been affected, including payments to customers of other banks.’

Customers of the bank have been affected on both sides, with companies being unable to pay their staff, take and pay loans and authorise other transactions. At the time of writing both HSBC’s retail and commercial banking systems display errors.

The glitch has arrived at a highly inopportune time as millions of people prepare for the August bank holiday in the UK. Thousands of disgruntled customers took to Twitter and social media to vent their anger at the bank, which is updating them via its own support channels.

The bank has only recently reported a ten per cent increase in profits for 2015 in the wake of a major restructure of its digital business model. Investment in end-to-end digitisation, the use of ever-popular cloud computing and a reworking of the bank’s mainframes were lauded as major pathways HSBC could take towards greater profitability.

The restructure was bad news for workers at the bank, however, as it axed 25,000 jobs to support of its new digitisation. The bank is also in the process of shedding the Pakistani operations by selling them to Meezan Bank, Pakistan’s largest bank. It already jettisoned its Brazilian assets to South American financial group Banco Bradesco in a deal worth £3.36 billion.

HSBC has since announced that they will be processing payments for all customers through Friday 28th August and Saturday 29th August with a view to completing all payments on the latter day.

By Alex Hamilton

by Darshana Adanwale