Corrupt File at Westpac Causes Problems at Australian Banks

News stories out of Australia like this one at the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Westpac Bank - Australia's second largest - suffered a "corrupt file" problem that affected its overnight payments processing.

As a result, payments into and out of Westpac weren't processed Monday night into part of this morning.The glitch left many Westpac Bank customers as well the customers of the three other major banks in Australia - ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and National Australia Bank (NAB) - with insufficient funds in their accounts for a good part of today.

Westpac promised to clear up the problem and its aftermath by the end of today, and early reports Wednesday morning local time seem to indicate that it had succeeded. Westpac's ATM, POS, online banking, telephone banking and branch banking were not directly affected by the processing glitch.

Westpac's situation is reminiscent of the overnight processing problem suffered by CBA last December, and the massive outage also caused by a corrupted file that disrupted NAB's overnight processing last November.

Last September, a server patch degraded Westpac's online banking for a good part of a day as well.

In April, Australian bank customers were told to expect 15 years of shared pain as the country's major banks upgraded their aging IT infrastructure. For many bank customers, 2025 can't come soon enough.

PHOTO: iStockphoto


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City