First Direct having online system issues
Hi everyone, just to let you know we are having problems with our systems online. We are working to fix this as soon as possible, really sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.
Source: via Facebook
Looks like this was the issue:
On 18 October 2012 HSBC servers came under a denial of service attack which affected a number of HSBC websites around the world. This denial of service attack did not affect any customer data, but did prevent customers using HSBC online services, including internet banking. We are taking appropriate action, working hard to restore service.
FURTHER UPDATE 6am 19th October
Here is the official notice from First Direct: