Thousands of TSB customers were left without access to their wages when the bank’s computer system crashed again.
Just days after MPs criticised the UK banking system for too many IT failures, the bank’s computer system failed again, leaving customers unable to access their wages and leaving pensions, benefits and other payments outstanding.
The breakdown also followed a highly critical report by law firm Slaughter and May into the major breakdown last year which left 1.9 million people unable to access their accounts for weeks.
The independent report said the bank’s board had ‘lacked common sense’ as it prepared to switch over from one computer system to another without properly testing it first.
The changeover went spectacularly wrong with some customers having to wait weeks before their service was restored.
The new breakdown was on a smaller scale, which the bank blamed on ‘a processing error’.
It is not clear exactly how many customers were impacted or how long the system was down for, but many people took to social media to complain.
One woman said she had been unable to pay the £900 deposit on a flat because there was nothing in her account.
She said: “I was expecting my wages this morning and woke up with nothing. I have an appointment before work to put a deposit down for a flat and now cannot do this.
“TSB have ruined everything. I am heartbroken. There’s been no explanation, no time limit or anything.
This is happening too often and I will be changing banks after this. I cannot believe it,”
Other customers were left unable to pay their rent and reported long call waiting times when they tried to telephone for help.
It is understood that the problems went beyond the processing of payments and also included difficulties with internet banking and the bank’s app.
In a statement TSB said it was ‘experiencing some delays’, adding: “Some payments into TSB accounts have been delayed overnight and we are working to process these as soon as possible today.
We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused and will ensure customers are not left out-of-pocket.
“If TSB customers need emergency cash or have any questions they can visit us in branch or contact us via the number on the back of their card.”
More bad news
New chief executive Debbie Crosbie has announced the closure of 82 branches next year as part of a £100 million cost-cutting plan.
Ms Crosbie, who took over after former boss Paul Pester resigned following last year’s IT meltdown, said: “The plan we’re sharing today involves some difficult decisions, but it sets TSB up to succeed in the future.
“Our new strategy positions TSB to succeed in a challenging environment at a time when we know customers want something different and better from their bank.”
TSB has not yet named the branches or the numbers of staff affected, but it has been suggested that between 300 and 400 positions will be involved.
The bank started with 631 branches when it was spun-off from Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) in 2013, since reduced to 540, and was sold to Spanish bank Sabadell in 2015.
Giving more detail on changes planned for the future Ms Crosbie said around £120 million is to be spent on improving its ‘digital offering’ and the automation of some of its branches.
By 2022 it expects that 90% of its transactions will be self-service and it also wants to speed up the opening and starting use of a current account from seven days to just 10 minutes.
Unite union national officer Dominic Hook has asked TSB to rethink the latest branch closures.
He said: “With over 3,300 bank branches having closed since 2015 this TSB news will hit High Streets extremely hard.”