Lightning knocks out Halifax IT system

Hanging on the telephone

A lightning storm in Belfast last night knocked out the IT systems of one of Halifax Bank's main UK call centres, creating problems for the bank in fielding customer queries well into this morning.

Halifax customer service reps told Reg reader Alan McWatters this morning that "due to a lightening Strike in Belfast last night all our systems are down and no accounts can be processed at this moment, I can only suggest you try phoning back in about four hours."

He asked to be transferred to a different call centre but bank representatives advised that "when one system goes down they all go down".

A spokeswomen for HBOS. Halifax's parent company, confirmed reports that a lightning strike in Belfast had forced Halifax to suspend operations at one of its main call centres. Thankfully nobody was hurt in the incident.

The Bank activated its disaster recovery plan. This involved transferring work normally carried out in the Belfast centre to a backup site in the city and other Halifax call centres dotted throughout the UK.

However the damage and disruption caused by the lightning strike in Belfast had a "knock on" effect on other call centres resulting in things running "slowly this morning", our woman at HBOS told us.

Everything is now back up and running, she added. ®

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