Northern Rock website buckles

Beleaguered
bank Northern Rock’s website failed to cope with the number of visitors it received
over the weekend.

Panicked
customers rushed to access their online account details following news that the
bank had borrowed £2 billion from the Bank of England, but many complained they
were unable to access their accounts.

“Northern Rock appears to have taken no account of the
problems with its website,” one customer told the BBC. “Their chief
executive has said all the time that it’s business as normal but with their
website being down it’s been far from normal for us online savers.”

Some disgruntled
account holders accused the bank of deliberately shutting them out of their
accounts to dissuade them from withdrawing their savings.

This
prompted the Financial Services Authority to release a statement explaining
that the website downtime was a result of
“the unusually high
volumes of customers trying to access their accounts as a result of the publicity
surrounding Northern Rock.”

The crisis of confidence has caused shares in Northern Rock,
which has been particularly badly affected by the US sub-prime lending fiasco, to
plummet 24%. Executives are reportedly now in take-over talks with other high
street banks.

Further reading

The 10 worst web application failures (2003)

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media (now Bonhill Group plc) from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The...

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