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Australian bank customers are demanding compensation after bank systems failure left thousands out of cash over the weekend as bank systems failed to update accounts.

A corrupt file kiboshed payments on Wednesday night and the bank is still trying to sort out the backlog. The problem was variously described as a corrupt file and a botched upgrade to its mainframe system.

Welfare payments, salaries, pensions, mortgages and direct debits due to arrive on Thursday were all hit. The problems meant that Friday's payments also mostly failed as the bank struggled to clear the backlog. The failure also hit settlements the bank with other financial institutions.

About 20,000 account holders are still effectively locked out of their accounts.

National Australia Bank said it had identified and fixed the problem but customers might still see multiple transactions in their statements which the bank would fix automatically.

NAB promised a compensation scheme for customers be left out of pocket as a result of its failings. It also issued emergency $500 loans to some customers left with nothing in their accounts.

NAB said: "A process is being put in place to identify where NAB customers may have inadvertently incurred fees, interest or other charges from the bank as a direct result of these delays. We will proactively undertake this work over the coming weeks without the need for customers to contact or notify us."

Customers can also register online to tell the bank what charges they have incurred.

NAB apologised and warned that their online banking system was likely to continue to run slowly because of high demand. ®

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