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Thursday, January 7, 1999 Published at 00:19 GMT

Business: The Company File

Millennium bugs bank

The bank says the closedown is vital for a computer upgrade

Cashpoint machines run by the Royal Bank of Scotland are to be shut down for 15 hours over the weekend, as the bank ensures its computer systems are millennium bug-proof.

From 0030 GMT on Sunday approximately 15,000 machines will be out of action across the whole of the UK, affecting some 2.3m customers.

The millennium bug - or the Y2K bug as it is dubbed by computer experts - is caused by some computers being unable to recognise the year 2000.

[ image: Royal Bank of Scotland cashpoints will be shut for 15 hours]
Royal Bank of Scotland cashpoints will be shut for 15 hours
Head of media relations at the Royal Bank of Scotland Jane Goodwins said: "We thought that we would do this sooner rather than later and be open about the whole situation.

"We have made sure that there will be the least amount of inconvenience as possible to our customers, by doing this on the quietest day of the year.

"It is also a day when the supermarkets are at their quietest, which means that customers will still be able to get cash-back.

"We have made sure we are being as upfront as possible about this, as the Y2K situation is so important. We have made everyone aware by putting messages on the machines in advance, and advising people about where they will still be able to get money."

The Bank said the close-down was a one-off upgrade and will not need to happen again.

Midland Bank has been testing systems for Y2K compliance over the last year which resulted in cashpoints being shut down for two to three hours.

NatWest Bank claimed that it had completed testing its machines and had no plans to shut them down again.

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