TSB drafts in IBM team to end IT meltdown

TSB has drafted in experts from IBM to help solve the IT crisis that has left up to 1.9m mobile and internet banking customers locked out of their accounts for days.

The chief executive, Paul Pester, said on Thursday he was “truly sorry” for the botched systems upgrade, but refused to say whether he would give up a potential £1m-plus bonus.

He admitted there were still problems with its internet banking and mobile app, seven days after the bank started moving millions of customer accounts to a new platform built by its Spanish owner, Banco Sabadell.

Pester insisted that no customer would be left out of pocket due to the chaos. The bank will waive all overdraft fees and interest charges for its retail and small business customers for April. It will also raise the interest paid out on its standard current account to 5% on balances up to £1,500, up from 3%, for existing customers who stick with the bank.

“As we moved over to our new banking platform last weekend, the landing was an incredibly bumpy one for our customers, and for that I am truly sorry,” Pester said.

“Our teams continue to work around the clock to fix the problems that some of our customers are having in accessing their TSB accounts. I want to reassure our customers that the engine room of the bank is working as it should.”

On Thursday morning, about half of all customers trying to access their accounts through the TSB website were still unable to do so.

Harry Cann (@HarryCann)

Nope. Still unable to login on my personal and business accounts.

April 26, 2018

Asked whether he would take personal responsibility for the chaos, Pester said he had been “too busy to think about” resigning. On the subject of whether or not he deserved a bonus after the fiasco, he said it would be a matter for the bank.

“The last thing I’m worried about at the moment is bonuses and pay. I’m focused on putting things right for customers. It’s not my decision, that’s a focus for [the board]. It’s a decision for the remuneration committee.”

The crisis began on Friday, when TSB began a planned migration of 5m customers and 1.3bn records from its previous owner, Lloyds Banking Group, to a platform built by Sabadell.

Customers were told the job would be completed by 6pm on Sunday. However, it soon became apparent something had gone badly wrong, with customers unable to login on to accounts or access funds. Some small businesses have been unable to pay staff or complete transactions, while other customers have reported having their cards declined.

Pester said that from 8am on Thursday he was taking over direct responsibility for the IT infrastructure from Sabadell. The IBM team will report directly to Pester.

The chief executive has been heavily criticised for misleading customers after tweeting on Wednesday morning that services were “back up and running”, when there were still widespread problems.

Pester said he was determined TSB would get back on it feet and continue to be a challenger bank to its bigger high street rivals such as Lloyds and HSBC.

“The way we deal with every single one of our frustrated customers as quickly as possible will define TSB – both now and in 10, in 15 and in 20 years to come as we continue on our mission to bring more competition to UK banking.”