Central Banks

Carney review after BoE payment system crashes

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The Bank of England has launched a "thorough" and "independent" investigation into what caused a 10-hour crash of the U.K.'s interbank payment system Monday which halted high value payments such as house purchases.

The RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlements) system had been suspended from its open at 6.00 a.m. London time until 4.00 p.m. in the afternoon, bringing the exchange of interbank transactions in the U.K. to a grinding halt. The RTGS then reopened for two hours, giving banks an extended time to submit all their interbank payments for processing. All 142,759 payments on Monday were eventually processed, according to the Bank.

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A statement late Monday from Bank Governor Mark Carney stated that the investigation will cover "the causes of the incident, the effectiveness of the Bank's response and the lessons learned for future contingency plans."

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"Its findings will be presented to Court which will then publish the full report and the response," the statement on Monday said. "The Bank apologizes for any problems caused by the delays."

The Bank first highlighted the technical issue at 11:00 a.m. London time, saying that it was related to some routine maintenance of its payment system. It added that the most important payments were being made manually.

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With the Bank's RTGS system offline, payments through the Clearing House Automated Payments System (CHAPS) was also suspended. This is a same-day electronic funds transfer service, owned by the commercial banks, and is responsible for high-value payments and housing purchases. An average of £277 billion is processed through CHAPS each day, with 80 percent of the value of its payments are wholesale financial payments – both domestic and cross-border..

CHAPS told customers on Monday to contact their own bank for any queries they may have on their specific payments.

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