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NO INDUSTRY spends more on information technology (IT) than financial services: about $500 billion globally, more than a fifth of the total (see chart). Many of the world’s computers, networking and storage systems live in the huge data centres run by banks. “Banks are essentially technology firms,” says Hugo Banziger, chief risk officer at Deutsche Bank. Yet the role of IT in the crisis is barely discussed.
It should be. Corporate IT systems—collections of computers, applications and databases—always tend to be messy, but those of banks are particularly bad.