Repeated IT failures that began in April at UK bank TSB and have yet to fully resolve have claimed the position of the bank’s CEO, Paul Pester, who stepped down on Tuesday.
Thousands of TSB customers were not able to access their accounts in a widespread problem almost half a year ago, and it appears that problems are still ongoing.
The failure was due to an IT upgrade mandated to take place in April following the split of Lloyds Banking Group from TSB several years ago, as the banks were still sharing the same IT system. When the implemented changes came in as planned, they caused serious outages, led to people and businesses not receiving payments and saw thousands of customers unable to access their accounts.
Although the bank said that many of these problems are no longer a factor, some still put Pester in a difficult position.
Only yesterday, TSB had to apologize again to its customers after a fresh wave of outages occurred months after the initial problems reportedly saw resolution. This led to customers venting their frustrations that TSB had been falsely allaying fears by claiming that everything was running smoothly. Those logging in online were unable to make transfers between their TSB accounts, and some could not even log in at all, despite offering the right details.
Gareth Shaw of Which?, a UK consumer magazine, pointed out that this new breakdown in access to services is likely to be “a real blow to all those who stuck with the bank,” especially given that “TSB bosses gave robust assurances that lessons had been learned.”
It is likely that this additional failure is the last straw in TSB being able to keep its 5 million customers without any changes from management in terms of addressing the situation. TSB dropped to last place in UK bank ratings for customer service in a recent poll from MoneySavingExpert.com. With 1.9 million of its client base locked out of their online accounts, a large portion of its customers saw some effect from the recent IT migration decision.
With TSB admitting that the IT meltdown cost £176.4m and caused the bank to suffer a half-year loss, it will be difficult work for the incoming CEO to turn things around quickly.
TSB has confirmed that a “full public search” is underway for a new chief, and Richard Meddings has already stepped in as Executive Chairman.
Meddings said that the underlying problems are yet to resolve and admitted “full stability for customers” is still in process; however, the bank’s IT services are considered to be “much improved since the IT migration.”
Pester resisted pressure to resign from MPs who said that his board should have been giving “serious consideration as to whether his position was sustainable,” and he held on until the new IT meltdown saw his incumbency become untenable.
Last month, in a bid to curtail some of the serious issues that arose and prevent new ones, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA set up a new expectation of reporting data outages.
With some 64 outages reported by major UK banks in the second quarter of 2018, TSB is far from the only one struggling with maintaining large IT infrastructures, although it seems to be faring the worst.