Customers of British banks faced an average of 10 digital banking blackouts a month in the past year. In our digitised world, minimising operational incidents is becoming more and more crucial for Financial Institutions. 


With increased competition from tenacious, disruptor banks such as Revolut and Monzo where accounts can be set up and cards ordered within minutes, traditional high street banks are under pressure to offer a more competitive offering to their customers.

The reputation of high street banks has recently been under the microscope due to the operational incidents they are encountering. A cyber security attack may seem the most obvious and damaging risk but other less malicious incidents such as simple human error within data input can serious set back a bank’s ability to run smoothly. Those set backs, coupled with ongoing regulatory risks and ageing hardware or legacy systems, means that bank operational outages are becoming more and more prevalent.


UK Bank Outages 2019 

The figures below relate to the 12 months between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019
(figures in brackets for the 3 months between 1 April and 30 June 2019)

  • Barclays 33 (4)
  • NatWest 25 (7)
  • Lloyds Bank 23 (2)
  • RBS 22 (7)
  • Santander 21 (4)
  • Bank of Scotland/Halifax 19 (2)
  • HSBC 14 (5)
  • TSB 12 (1)
  • Metro Bank 8 (3)
  • Co-operative Bank 7 (1)
  • Virgin Money 5 (3)
  • Nationwide 5 (0)


Banking Requirements 

Since 2018 banks are required by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to publish information about the number of major operational and security incidents they have experienced.

“It is now a year since we required firms to start publishing this data, providing people with the tools to work out how easily they can carry out day to day banking activities, as well as the reliability of the service they receive” Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA.


UK high street banks need to ensure they spend their resources on the maintenance and control of operations as there reputation may be tarnished compared to quicker reacting digital banks.


Contact Joseph Lee for more information on this article and innovative solutions for banks.