Santander accidentally put millions in random accounts for Christmas

A sign hangs from the Banco Santander branch in London, UK, Wednesday 3 February 2010.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg via Getty Images

LONDON. Thousands of people received a surprise Christmas present this year when European bank Santander inadvertently donated £ 130 million (US $ 176 million) in 75,000 transactions.

The error occurred when payments from 2,000 UK business accounts were processed twice, which meant that some employees’ salaries doubled and suppliers also received more than they expected.

The bank said the recurring payments were caused by a “scheduling problem” that has now been addressed.

He is now trying to correct erroneous payments, many of which have been transferred to bank accounts operated by rival banks.

“We regret that due to a technical problem, some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated in recipient accounts,” a Santander spokesman told CNBC.

“As a result, none of our clients have ever run out of funds, and in the coming days we will be working diligently with many banks across the UK to recover duplicate transactions.”

Reports suggest the incident may have spoiled the spirits of some salaried employees on Christmas and Boxing Day.

“It ruined my vacation because I thought I paid hundreds of thousands by mistake – I thought I did something wrong,” said one payroll manager. told BBC… “I thought it was just me and that I would have problems at work.”

The payroll manager added that Santander did not share how companies should explain the second payment to employees, and did not provide any information on how it should be returned, according to the report.

Santander said the refund process is an industry-wide process known as the “bank error recovery process.” He added that he started working with other banks in accordance with this process and that these banks will seek to collect incidental payments from their clients’ accounts.

He said he also has the ability to collect funds directly from people’s accounts.

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