TAXPAYER-owned Royal Bank of Scotland is preparing to spend about £2 billion upgrading its IT systems after a string of technical glitches in recent years.

The bank’s chief administrative officer Simon McNamara said the large spend involved was necessary to repair years of neglecting technology.

“We are doing the job that should have been done before,” he said, adding that for many years the bank “did not rationalise and integrate”.

McNamara said the cash spent on improving the underlying systems was resulting in benefits. He said that when he joined RBS from Standard Chartered in 2013, RBS had suffered more than 300 disruptions to its services in that year alone, but this had narrowed to about 30 last year.

Most RBS customers will remember the unprecedented systems meltdown in 2012 that left more than 6.5 million UK customers locked out of their accounts.

Its effects were felt for several weeks and a very expensive lesson. As well as causing serious reputational damage, it led to fines from regulators totalling £56 million – a record £42m from City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and £14m from the Prudential Regulation Authority.

The FCA said the fine was the largest it had imposed for a retail matter, defined as one that directly impacts the general public and falls outside of penalties for manipulating benchmarks such as the interbank lending rate Libor.

Last month the bank hosted tech leaders and influential Silicon Valley speakers at its Disrupt 17 event in Edinburgh, illustrating the importance it is now placing on technology and supporting the capital’s growth as the UK’s leading Fintech hub.

They included influential Silicon Valley think tank Singularity University and RocketSpace, the tech incubator that helped Spotify and Uber get off the ground

McNamara said then: “It’s vital that we continue to build relationships with innovative tech firms from around the world, so that we can make the very best technology available for our customers. This event brings partners, customers and colleagues together to help us do just that.

“This is also a great opportunity for Scotland’s burgeoning Fintech community to build new relationships with global tech entrepreneurs and help boost our economy in the long run.”