Merry Christmas! Santander Claus made a payment error of $ 176 million

A few tens of thousands of people woke up on Christmas Day to double pay and a higher-than-expected bank balance after Santander made an oopsie, depositing 130 million pounds (176 million dollars) in accounts held by their British customers. Santander now wants the money back, thank you.

The deposit accident was the result of a mysterious “planning problem”, according to The times, who first reported the story. The bank confirmed The Verge that some payments were accidentally doubled. (Santander characterizes it as a “technical problem.”) These transactions included transactions from 2,000 companies, as well as unintentional deposits in 75,000 accounts of individuals and companies such as a corporate Ebeneezer Scrooge who had been intimidated into generosity.

The bank is now working to undo that generosity, Santander confirmed. Unfortunately for Santander, many of the deposits were made to accounts with other financial institutions, including HSBC, Barclays and others. Santander will now use a process called “bank error recovery” to collect the funds, although it is unclear how many individuals have already spent the money, which could make this process a nightmare for the bank.

By the way, it is not uncommon for large sums of money to be deposited in the wrong accounts. In April became New York Times reported that a Louisiana woman was charged with fraud after failing to return $ 1.2 million incorrectly deposited into her account by Charles Schwab, who had originally intended to move only $ 82.56 into a Fidelity account. Kelyn Spadoni had used the funds to buy, among other things, a house and an SUV. She was then fired from her job as a 911 clerk.

Chase Bank, meanwhile, mistakenly deposited $ 50 billion into a Louisiana account earlier this year. In another statement CNN in July, Chase Bank blamed the problem on a “technical error”, adding that the account was eventually returned to proper balance.

In most cases, as with the mentioned goofs, misappropriated funds should be returned. A notable exception is Citibank’s $ 900 million error. By random conduction of almost one billion dollars to hedge funds, some of these hedge funds decided to keep the money – and a court ruled that it was perfectly fine, due to existing loan terms and complicated systems that Citi had in place to send funds.

Unfortunately, “finders keepers” probably does not apply to the Santander audience.

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