Stephen Jones, UK Finance CEO comments:

The banking industry is committed to providing the best possible service, ensuring customers are able to access and manage their money.  When incidents do occur, firms work around the clock to minimise disruption and get services back up and running as quickly as possible.

“Operational resilience is crucial in a modern financial system and is a key priority for the industry. UK Finance members continue to invest billions to ensure systems, human and digital, are robust and secure. The industry has made significant advances in recent years, with digital innovation transforming the way money is managed, providing 24/7 access to payment systems, enhanced network capabilities and extended access through its partnership with the Post Office, increasing the range of options through which customers can conduct their day to day banking. This greater choice and reach of service channels helps provide better back-up for customers if an incident temporarily disrupts service somewhere in the network.

“We will continue to work closely with regulators, government and industry to protect the UK’s financial system, institutions and customers.”

Background information:

In the summer of 2018, firms across the industry submitted proposals to the UK authorities’ joint discussion paper on operational resilience and set out their commitment to prepare and respond effectively to any potential major disruption or event.

The UK Finance response supported the general approach laid out and agreed with the intent behind the concept of prioritised business services as a way of aligning an integrated approach to operational resilience. We believe there should not be a one-size-fits-all approach given the disparate business models, size and, in many cases, global nature of our members.

UK Finance is working closely with member firms and regulators on this important topic, particularly around refining the definition of ‘impact tolerance’, the stress testing framework, and the gap analysis of regulatory expectations and what the industry does today.

Simex 18 – sector resilience exercise:

On Friday 9th November 2018, the Bank of England, in partnership with industry and other UK financial authorities (UK Finance, HM Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority), hosted a one-day exercise designed to test the financial sector’s resilience to a major cyber-attack on the UK. This sector-wide exercise helps to ensure that the finance industry and its regulators are prepared and can respond effectively to a potential major disruption or event, thereby protecting the UK’s financial system, its participants and customers. These exercises are just one part of the joint regulatory and industry commitment to maintaining resilience of our financial system.

The Way We Bank Now report published in May this year, reveals that the popularity of services such as Twitter, Facebook messenger and WhatsApp, is encouraging banks to invest in similarly fast and convenient webchat services with customers embracing online support – major banks had over 5.5 million webchats with customers in 2017, the equivalent of 622 per hour. Helping customers wherever they are, be it via video banking or call technology, tablet computers or online mortgage application services alongside pop-up, micro and mobile branches, is a sentiment increasingly adopted by the banking industry as it seeks to respond to customer demand for accessibility 24/7. In coming years video banking and voice activation will become even more prominent. Overall in recent years digital innovation has transformed the way we manage our money – in 2017 customers logged into apps over 5.5 billion times, a 13 per cent increase since 2016 – and increasingly customers are utilising new technologies to talk to experts outside conventional bank branch hours rather than taking time out of their working day.

UK Finance response – Treasury Committee inquiry – banks IT failure