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Abbey IT upgrade 'chaos' hits small biz banking

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A weekend IT upgrade at Abbey's business banking division left customers unable to login or transfer money in or out of their accounts on Monday.

Some customers continue to report problems today, but Abbey says it has fixed system-level failures and that people who are still locked out of their finances are a tiny minority. An Abbey spokeswoman said no records had been lost in the upgrade, after customers found they were unable to see their direct debits and standing orders online.

Reg readers say they weren't warned about the changes and have struggled to get help from Abbey's business banking call centre.

Richard Vahrman said on Monday: "This has just happened to me and such is the extent of the cockup that staff from the non-business section have been seconded to help out. The assistant who was helping me said that it was absolute chaos and at one time over 600 people were waiting in the queue."

The upgrade involved customers being asked to re-enter login details. An Abbey spokeswoman said those that were unable to get back in will be posted new passwords. Rather than the usual up-to-10-day waiting time, the letters will arrive within three days, she said.

Abbey sent this statement:

Over the weekend we upgraded the systems and services for our Business Banking customers. This went smoothly apart from some temporary disruption in the availability of the internet and ATM services. This was quickly resolved and we apologise for the inconvenience this caused.

In addition, as part of the upgrade, our active online customers need to register again (simply by clicking to accept the terms and conditions) to gain access to their secure internet site. Once they have done this they can view and transact immediately as normal.

Which is dandy. But given the pressure many small businesses are under, Abbey's timing could have been rather better. ®

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