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TSB banking service tech problems continue

TSB customers are still experiencing problems using online and mobile banking services after almost a week of disruption

TSB’s mobile and internet app is still not working properly following major glitches related to a weekend customer account migration, meaning that although systems in the background are working, customers cannot always see what services are available.

Internet banking is only operating at 50% capacity and one in 10 attempts to use the mobile app still fail.

The problems occurred as TSB was moving customer accounts from the systems of Lloyds Bank, which had been hosting the accounts for TSB, to the new core banking system Proteo4UK, a UK version of the system developed in-house by Spanish banking group Sabadell, which owns TSB.

Over the weekend and into this week, customers have experienced serious difficulties using TSB services.

Customers have been unable to use the mobile and online banking app, money has disappeared from some accounts, customers could see the accounts of other people and others were mistakenly credited with thousands of pounds.

As of the evening of Wednesday 25 April, the bank said its internet banking is currently working at half its possible capacity.

TSB CEO Paul Pester said in his latest statement that IT teams are still working around the clock to fix the problems. “I want to reassure our customers that the engine room of the bank is working as it should,” he said. “This means that for the vast majority of our five million customers, everything is running smoothly.

Read more about core banking migration troubles

“They can do their day-to-day banking, such as using their cards to get money out of cash machines and paying for goods with their debit or credit card in shops both on the high street and online,” said Pester. “All of the services that happen every day, such as direct debits, standing orders, payments including salary credits, and transfers going in and out of accounts are working as normal.

“The challenge we are facing at the moment is that while we know everything is working, one of the main ways our customers see everything is working – through our internet banking and mobile app – isn’t functioning as well as it should be, and for this I’m truly sorry,” he said. “I can appreciate how frustrating this must be for our customers.”

The bank has hired  IBM  to help it fix the problem.

Read more on IT for financial services

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TSB’s continuing internet banking crisis is yet the latest example of a failed Service Transition. Too many large-scale IT projects fail to take into account the tremendous amount of effort and resources required to transition a live service. With 5 million+ customers, the migration of TSB’s core banking system was undoubtedly a significant undertaking, and such projects will always have teething problems. Yet despite TSB having over 900 IT specialists involved in building the new platform, it would appear that major aspects of the transition part of the project were overlooked.

From an outside perspective, it would appear that TSB has made the common mistake of treating this solely as an IT project to be managed by IT; but a core banking system impacts everything and everyone that interacts with the bank, from customers to suppliers to staff. It affects all of the people, processes, tools, information, etc., at the heart of the bank, not to mention the inevitable impact on people’s livelihoods when they cannot access their money.

A project of this scale is too big to be left solely in IT’s hands, so it is reassuring to see TSB’s CEO taking personal charge of the crisis, with the newly-appointed IBM team reporting directly to him. This is the right approach. Other organisations facing such large-scale migrations would do well to learn from TSB’s mistakes and take this holistic, senior-driven approach from the very start of the project before a single piece of code is even written.

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