Programming Bug Costs Citigroup $7M After Legit Transactions Mistaken For Test Data For 15 Years

An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register:A programming blunder in its reporting software has led to Citigroup being fined $7m. According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that error [PDF] resulted in the financial regulator being sent incomplete “blue sheet” information for a remarkable 15 years — from May 1999 to April 2014. The mistake was discovered by Citigroup itself when it was asked to send a large but precise chunk of trading data to the SEC in April 2014 and asked its technical support team to help identify which internal ID numbers they should run a request on. That team quickly noticed that some branches’ trades were not being included in the automated system and alerted those above them. Four days later a patch was in place, but it wasn’t until eight months later that the company received a formal report noting that the error had affected SEC reports going back more than a decade. The next month, January 2015, Citigroup fessed up to the SEC.The glitch resided in new alphanumeric branch codes that the bank had introduced in the mid-1990s. The program code filtered out any transactions that were given three-digit branch codes from 089 to 100 and used those prefixes for testing purposes. The report adds, “But in 1998, the company started using alphanumeric branch codes as it expanded its business. Among them were the codes 10B, 10C and so on, which the system treated as being within the excluded range, and so their transactions were removed from any reports sent to the SEC.”


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