But Spanish parent, Banco Sabadell, proclaimed triumphantly to its Spanish audience that the botched IT transition was a resounding success.
(DQ: This article was written and published on Tuesday evening. It’s now Wednesday morning and TSB has announced, again, that its online service is back up and running. Many customers beg to differ, with some even reporting disappearing mortgages or obscene overdrafts of anywhere between $83,000 and $13,000,000, although their accounts are in pounds. It would be funny if it wasn’t so damn scary).
As bank IT system revamps go, few have been as disastrous as UK bank TSB’s latest system upgrade, which began on Friday, was supposed to be up and running by Monday morning, but is still down on Tuesday evening. It’s now Day Five of the crisis and an estimated 1.9 million TSB customers still cannot use the bank’s online service. According to customer testimonials featured on The Guardian, some cannot even withdraw cash with their ATM card or their credit cards.
One TSB customer was reportedly given access to another customer’s £35,000 savings account, £11,000 Isa, and a business account when he logged onto his online banking account on Monday night — an allegation the bank denies. “There’s been no data breach whatsoever. I can categorically say that customers’ data is safe,” said the bank’s CEO, Paul Pester. Judging by the tone of some of their tweets and comments, the customers are not wholly convinced.
TSB used to belong to Lloyds Bank, one of the UK’s Big Four lenders that was bailed out with public money during the financial crisis. After later acquiring HBOS, itself the product of a failed merger between Halifax and the Bank of Scotland, European banking regulators deemed the combined banks to be too big and concentrated. So Lloyds decided to spin off TSB, which was duly acquired by Spain’s fifth biggest lender, Banco Sabadell, in 2015.
For Sabadell the deal represented its first major foray into foreign markets. But merging banks, especially across national borders, can be a complex business, especially when the IT systems involved are completely different…