April 25, 2018

TSB boss Paul Pester said the bank is back online… users disagree

By Billy

The chief executive of UK bank TSB, which has been struggling under an online service outage since Sunday, has said his customers should be able to use TSB’s website and app again. Many of the bank’s users say they’re still unable to access their accounts, however.

TSB CEO Paul Pester — who earned £1.75 million in 2017, compared with £3.7 million the previous year — took to social network Twitter in the early hours of this morning to assure the bank’s customers that normal services had been resumed.

Today is the fifth day that customers have suffered disruptions. Yesterday Pester apologised for the technology meltdown.

Pester, who’s £1 million bonus from the bank was withheld in February until the bank had completed its delayed IT improvements, thanked his customers “for their patience”.

https://twitter.com/PaulPester/status/988971048870739968

Many responded to him with further complaints, however, screenshotting error messages from their log in attempts to both the website and the bank’s app.

Why has this outage happened to TSB now?

Lloyds Banking Group was forced to spin off TSB in 2014 as a state aid requirement of its £20 billion financial crisis bailout. After a brief period as an independent listed group, TSB was bought by Spain’s Sabadell for £1.7 billion in March 2017.

Since 2014 TSB has been renting its IT back end and digital services from Lloyds Banking Group but was last weekend meant to siphon 1.9 million digital customers from old servers to a new platform.

Services were meant to come back online by 6pm London time on Sunday. That either failed to happen for many people or if services did resume some people were left with missing or unexplained transactions showing up on their account.

Since then most of the bank’s customers have been unable to access their accounts and many have been unable to make payments.

What will happen next?

The bank will now face questions from the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office as well as the banking regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

Yesterday, the influential Treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan railed against the “litany of failures of banking IT systems”.

In a letter to Pester Morgan wrote that “warm words and platitudes will not suffice. TSB customers deserve to know what has happened, when normal services will resume, and how they can expect to be compensated”.

She added:

It simply isn’t good enough to expose customers to IT failures, including delays in paying bills and an inability to access their own money.

In 2012 an RBS banking outage led to a £56 million fine.

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