Santander computer system problems hit Alliance & Leicester customers

Move to Spanish bank Santander's computer system leaves some A&L customers unable to access accounts online

Alliance & Leicester customers have found themselves unable to access their bank accounts online as a result of system problems incurred by Santander, which took over A&L in July 2008.

The Spanish bank is in the process of integrating A&L with Abbey and Bradford & Bingley, the two other UK banks it owns, but is suffering problems during the process which began last weekend when it started upgrading the accounts of 5m customers.

In November Santander wants to rebrand all 270 A&L branches with its own red flame logo but is unable to do so until it can put all the A&L customers on to its own computer system Partenon.

Santander rebranded the Abbey National and Bradford & Bingley branches it owns in January and those customers are now able to use the Santander branch network regardless of where they were previously a customer. Once A&L customers are on the same system they will also be able to use the wider Santander network.

Santander insisted that the problems were affecting only a "small number" of the 5m A&L customers being transferred to its systems but was unable to give an indication as to when the online services would be running again. The online banking facility appears to have collapsed on the weekend and customers are being told there is a possibility it may be operating again by this weekend.

The breakdown comes at an embarrassing moment for Santander as only last week it bought 318 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland in a move that will expand its branch network to 1,643 when the deal completes next year. The acquisition also bolsters its share of small business banking from 3% to 8%.

The Santander spokesman said it had received court approval on 28 May to transfer all of the A&L businesses to Santander. "We have started a phased migration of accounts, accounting for over 5m customers," the spokesman said.

"The vast majority of customers have had a trouble-free upgrade to their banking service with Santander and we expect to complete this and rebrand the A&L business by the end of 2010. However a small number of individuals have had temporary problems regarding specific internet banking transactions."

"We apologise for any inconvenience that have been caused to these customers and are working to ensure these issues are rectified. If any customers are experiencing issues with their online banking account we urge them to contact us on 0844 800 1144 or visit or"


Jill Treanor and Zoe Wood

The GuardianTramp

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