At a time when the UK banking system is massively underwater, and exists only due to billions in ongoing daily government support, the last thing the country (or any other) needs is a forced locked out from one's bank account. Which is precisely what happened over the weekend in the UK, when Barclays clients were unable to access their accounts, or withdraw cash with no advance notice. Reuters reports that "thousands of Barclays customers in Britain were unable to access their bank accounts or withdraw money from cash machines on Saturday after a system crash caused chaos nationwide." Hopefully no cyberterrorists get whiff of this most easy way to create a nationwide financial panic like no other: with everyone's nerves continuously frayed courtesy of broken capital markets, and investors and savers pulling their money out of stocks and putting it into bonds and mattresses, the last tipping point would be an unexpected "crash" that locked out all ATM machines in America.
More from Reuters:
The problems, which began at around 1230 GMT, hit telephone and online banking services and caused frustration at retail outlets as embarrassed shoppers were forced to abandon purchases at the till.
Barclays' telephone banking centers were inundated with calls from customers, many of whom were angry at the lack of information. A Barclays spokeswoman was unable to elaborate on the cause of the problems.
"We became aware of a problem earlier in the day," she said. "We apologize to customers for any inconvenience."
At 1915 GMT, access to online accounts was still being denied and calls to the helpline suggested the problems were ongoing.
Hopefully the UK banking system did not decide to take advantage of this temporary reprieve to fix its repo market, by shifting all deposit accounts into, say money markets for the duration of the outage, claiming all is well. In light of recent revalations that Spain has been using its Social Security Funds to purchase its own sovereign bonds (an expansion of our own Ponzi scheme to previously unimagined levels), nothing would surprise us any more.