RBS is currently spinning that it has recovered 99% of the financial transactions of its RBS and NatWest customers and the mainstream media seem quite happy with this. But anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of finance and data knows that this means that the data recovery process at RBS has probably not worked as it should have and that there is a good chance that information has been lost permanently or seriously corrupted. This loss appears to be confirmed by reports that the problems could drag on for weeks, which most likely means that RBS is going to attempt to reconstruct financial information it has lost in conjunction with other financial institutions and BACS. This situation is worse than we could have feared, as these data are MONEY, and recovering and collating data from other organisations is even slower and more difficult than the failed recovery already attempted. The value of even one per cent of RBS’s daily, let alone weekly, retail financial transactions is going to be a very big number indeed. Already there are reports of RBS ‘making it up as it goes along’ with BACS payments and Direct Debits identified solely as ‘RBS TRANS XXXXXX’, where XXXXXX is some RBS date reference – the reference isn’t even unique, accurate or meaningful. Unbelievably, the problems seems to be worse at Ulster Bank; no wonder the Irish government is getting involved. We don’t know what has been lost or will be recoverable eventually – if it is transactions rather than just descriptions it could be terminal for RBS. No wonder Mervyn King was on the telephone to Stephen Hester last weekend. Watch this story explode in the mainstream media.