A New Banking Error

As a result of the blog on Fim’s banking problem I was made aware of a similar occurrence that co-incidentally happened to another SPMR.  SImilar in that a cash amount deposited by the SPMR at their own PO to the recipient, in this case, the SPMRs son, where it appeared as 100 times the deposited amount.

The time scale for rectification was startling. Over 2 years despite the SPMR raising the problem with POL who were not interested and again it was the recipient’s bank who eventually asked for the money back.

There are lots to be drawn from this new piece of information.

  1. I have connections via the internet to a limited pool of SPMRs who provide me with these examples.   I would say 200 at most.  And yet here we have already a further example of the same error.  While the sampling rate is extremely low it is clearly not a one off exceptional error and surely if the truth be known far more common than the banks and POL would have us believe (remember banks don’t chase after credit card fraudsters nor report them to the police to avoid panic and reputation damage)
  2. The recipient did not raise the matter with their bank in this case yet eventually after 2 years the error was spotted and rectified.   This suggest that of course there is some reconciliation process but far more importantly there is such a back log that it takes an incredibly long time to resolve.
  3. If there is such a delay – recalling what I said regarding Fim’s error – then POL would be out of pocket for the error amount for 2 years and this amount would sit no doubt in one huge suspense account!
  4. No wonder POL threw Second SIght out once they started asking questions about the suspense accounts!

Anybody else out there who can report a similar experience please let me know.

Cheers, Tim


2 thoughts on “A New Banking Error

  1. The plot thickens.

    The other aspect of these errors is, the batch cover note sent by SPMRs to POL has the total number of cheques and the total value.

    For an individual cheque to be miskeyed is not surprising, BUT the batch total must also have been miskeyed, otherwise the batch would not balance and could not be processed.

    It seems almost impossible to believe that a human operator would make 2 errors on one small batch, that somehow magically balance out. My suspicion is that they cannot be processing the batch cover note at all, leaving the system entirely open to these one off errors being made.

    Or are POL using “technology” to do this batch processing? And if that is all part of HOL, a system that a) is never wrong (except where a £2 Lottery ticket is given a face value of £5) and b) where branch figures cannot be amended from the centre………….


  2. Well I suspect that technology is responsible for the errors Fim. The two errors are multiples of 100. I did say I wouldn’t guess but its hard not to conclude that a decimal point has been overlooked in both cases.

    A question is – is optical character recognition used here? In both cases the hand writing on the deposit slip and the BCV would be by the same person.

    The BCV is a POL internal document which has been in place for years – even prior to HOL – I seem to recall the pre HOL you inserted the BCV in to the receipt printer and it printed on it all the details of the transactions.

    The error though is clearly within the clearing house system – I would assert that this is still part of the HORIZON SYSTEM over all of which HOL software is only a small part. Even though the clearing house is a sub contractor POL retains overall responsibility for their actions and failures.


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