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UK bank mistakenly pays out $175 million on Christmas Day

UK bank Santander got into the Christmas spirit this year by paying out a total of £130 million ($175 million) to customers by mistake on December 25.

The total payment was split over 75,000 transactions for around 2,000 corporate and commercial customers, Santander said in a statement published Thursday.
“We’re sorry that due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated on the recipients’ accounts,” reads the statement.
“None of our clients were at any point left out of pocket as a result and we will be working hard with many banks across the UK to recover the duplicated transactions over the coming days.”
Santander blamed the duplicated payments on a scheduling issue, which the bank said was “quickly identified and rectified.”
The transactions were both regular and one-off payments which could have included supplier payments or wages, it added.
Santander is working to recover the funds from recipient banks through the “bank error recovery process,” according to the statement, and it has processes in place to seek recovery of funds deposited in error directly from recipients.
Santander UK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of global bank Banco Santander, which is headquartered in Spain.
The UK operation has 14 million active customers and 616 branches, according to its website.

While $175 million is a significant sum to pay out by mistake, it pales into insignificance next to the $500 million that US bank Citibank lost in one of the “biggest blunders in banking history.”
The bank accidentally sent out $900 million to the lenders of cosmetic company Revlon, and went to court in August 2020 to try and recover some $500 million that hadn’t voluntarily been paid back.
But in February a US District Court judge ruled that the bank won’t be allowed to recover the money.

 

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