21 JunSleepy fingers. A close cousin of fat fingers.

The Germans like rules. “We hev rules,” as they, and the Swiss, would say. So when a supervisor in a bank approved a payment for 222,222,222.22 million Euros that should have been for 64.20, the price of not obeying the rules was the sack. The rules were enforced even though the error was spotted and reversed before any real loss happened.

It seems the clerk inputting the payment had fallen asleep and left his finger on the keyboard and the supervisor had also missed the error. That though was the 812th approval of the day; each one getting just a few seconds of attention. The sacked supervisor went to an industrial tribunal and successfully claimed for unfair dismissal. Click here for more details. I have every sympathy with the folk involved and support the verdict in the dismissed supervisor’s favour.

Lessons Learned: This is really a variation on the fat finger type of problem that is found on trading floors where people make a mistake with their input. The protection against this has to be automated or system supported.

Change the process: it is unfortunate if there is so much manual input that a team of two is doing 812 of them in a day. With that much input, mistakes are inevitable. Efforts should be made to move the input back to the client.

Change the control: a visual check places a huge responsibility on inputter and checker. If there is a batch of entries, then a batch control total calculated by the checker will serve as another line of defence.

Test for normal: it seems more than likely that the payment that was approved was way bigger than the normal size payment in that area. That is a useful check and one to run even if the customer makes the input. If the customer had made the input error and the bank had missed it, the client would have been on the front foot in court saying “.. the bank, with its expertise, ought to have realised that this size of payment was too big and unlikely for this type of customer.” Now these days it would not be hard to find a judge who would give a retail client the benefit of the doubt. If it was in America, it takes little imagination to see a jury awarding punitive damages of the usual American super size variety.

A personal request: The book of the Blog is in the works. Your support would be appreciated on two fronts:

  1. Please subscribe, if you don’t already.
  2. Please share this with a friend or two and ask them to subscribe too.

If the comments are wide of the mark and not offering anything of use, please comment or make contact directly via E-Mail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CAPTCHA, to Submit please solve this: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.