back to article Who will fix our Internal Banking Mess? TSB hires IBM amid online banking woes

In the midst of its six-day online banking meltdown, which is showing no sign of letting up, TSB has hauled in the systems integration big gun or as it is otherwise known, IBM. The British bank confirmed the signing of Big Blue this morning as part of its rather uncomfortably timed first quarter financial results for 2018, in …

HmmmYes
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooks%27s_law

Doctor Syntax
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And the irony is that the book reflected his time at IBM when IBM was a force to be reckoned with.

TheVogon
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Transferred

Internal

Technical

Support

to

Underpaid

Peasants

?

Doctor Syntax
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"We're putting things right"

After putting them wrong.

Chris Tierney

This CIO job was posted 13 hours ago

https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/633114556/

I guess Carlos Abarca is looking for someone a bit more local.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

But what about Damon?

The incumbent...

https://www.linkedin.com/in/damon-yates-1421b43/

handleoclast
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Coat

Re: But what about Damon?

This.

Oh, you said Damon. I thought you said Damian.

Mind you, TSB are probably wondering if they can apply it to Damon.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

"I knew the plan was missing something."

Boring Bob

Re: But what about Damon?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/damon-yates-1421b43/

Am I correct in understanding that TSB hired someone with only one year of project management experience as their head of IT infrastructure?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Hello, we're TSB, and we're different from other banks.

Other banks have working IT systems

Kane
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Joke

Re: Hello, we're TSB, and we're different from other banks.

Other banks have are working IT systems

There, fixed that for you!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: But what about Damon?

He has far more than that from memory of him working for Auntie

Steve Davies 3
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Out of the Paella pan

and into the IBM fire perhaps?

I know one thing and that it I would not be wanting to put TSB on my CV with current dates at the moment.

HmmmYes
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Re: Out of the Paella pan

Out of the Paella and into the curry pot.

Tydfil

Re: Out of the Paella pan

IBM to the rescue!!!!! ...... now there's an 'oxymoron'. What with no more TSS for support, IBM could fix it on site with some highly skilled project staff and developers. But they won't be around to support it afterwards - and that is something IBM will want from all of this once fixed, and sufficient time has passed for TSB to draw breath.

HmmmYes
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'But the damage has been done – vast numbers of Twitter users and numerous Reg readers have been reporting plans to switch banks (as soon as they can access their money again).'

Surely thats:

'But the damage has been done – vast numbers of Twitter users and numerous Reg readers have been reporting plans to switch banks (*IF* they can access their money again).'

Peter2
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'But the damage has been done – vast numbers of Twitter users and numerous Reg readers have been reporting plans to switch banks (as soon as they can access their money again).'

Why wait?

I signed up for a new account a couple of years ago. One of the questions they ask in the setup process was "would you like us to get your old account with the other bank closed down and the balance transferred to your new account with us?"

It turns out that most banks these days have teams that are dedicated to doing transitions between banks. In this situation, personally i'd be availing myself of their services so they can deal with the hassle.

Dan 55
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TSB's switchover team use the same back office systems as branch personnel and will probably be inundated. It's nothing that you can't do yourself by going into a branch and making them transfer the money or getting the money out yourself.

Pascal Monett
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Yeah, but why bother with that hassle when your new bank is falling over itself to help you ?

Especially since it will be the last time that bank will fall over itself to do anything for you.

Ktsecful

So instead of filling in a simple form (and with many banks being paid to switch using the current account switching service), you'd rather:

Go in to a bank, withdraw all of your cash, close your account

Go to a new bank, open an account, pay your money in

Contact all businesses you have outstanding DDs with, and set up new ones.

Recreate all of your payees on your new banks online banking

Set up any standing orders again.

Dan 55
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Yes, I would rather do that. I don't know if you've noticed but TSB's IT currently resembles a smoking crater and they've got no more chance transferring your money out of your account than you have getting the money or a bankers draft at a branch, plus by now TSB will have a huge backlog to work through.

DDs, SOs, and payees can be done online after getting the money in the new account, given an evening and a cup of tea.

whatsyourShtoile

You expect me to spend an evening doing paperwork for tea?

Out of the question.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

i wouldn't be doing ANYTHING at the moment that's going to complicate matters! So moving banks I'd be waiting for the dust to settle!

What could possibly go wrong

Doctor Syntax
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"It's nothing that you can't do yourself by going into a branch"

A bank branch? What's that?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Current Account Switching Service

I don't understand why the Current Account Switching Service which the UK Government exhorted the banks to implement was made literally only that, a switching service, and one which closes down your old bank account once the transfer has been fully completed.

Certainly, being able to transfer things such as salary payments in, and standing orders and direct debits out, from the old account to the new account as smoothly as possible is very welcome, but I think that all of the problems that various banks have had, coupled with the risk of card theft, all go to show the importance of having at least two current accounts (with completely separate banking groups) at all times, so that you always have a backup available ...even if one of the banks doesn't!

Yet Another Anonymous coward
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TSB's switchover team use the same back office systems as branch personnel and will probably be inundated.

So if you do it you get nowhere.

If another giant bank gets no response to a milllion transfer requests it phones up the banking regulator and suggests TSB get fined a few million/day until they comply.

I don't think - we would love to abide by the rules for the time it takes to transfer a customer to a competitor, but the computer is acting up - works as an excuse

Sgt_Oddball
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Pint

I'd much prefer at least 1 beer and maybe a whiskey chaser.... or 3 before attempting to move mine...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Current Account Switching Service

> I don't understand why the Current Account Switching Service which the UK Government exhorted the banks to implement ...

Sounds like an absolutely fantastic Social Engineering opportunity.

"Hi this is <foo> calling from <some bank>. Just calling to switch another client over. Name: [ie: Jeremy Clarkson], Details: [found on social media]. Target bank sort code: [..]. Target bank account: [...]."

Wonder how employees from each bank are supposed to auth to employees from different banks, who they probably don't always know? Hopefully it's not something stupidly easy to fake.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Near miss

Been using the switching service from TSB -> HSBC over the last couple of weeks. Switch date was Fri 20th so, yeah, dodged a bullet there.

Aodhhan
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Yes, I'd rather do all of this. It's known as:

- Responsibility

- Being forward thinking

- Someone who isn't going to support poor business practices

- Taking care of my financial future and my family

- Oh, and this will strike at the heart of many snowflakes... NOT BEING LAZY.

Taking several hours out of my life to deal with switching banks will likely save me many days of headaches and late payment fees in the future.

Anyone who isn't willing to do this, only perpetuates poor business practices. Someday, this is likely going to bite you in the backside.

Finally... when all this is over, TSB is going to look for ways to cut costs to cover the large expense this muck-up is costing them. It doesn't take a world class seer to figure out how the effects will eventually fall back onto the customer.

djstardust
Silver badge

A disaster

As a TSB customer of 33 years (It was Aberdeen Savings Bank when I signed up) I have finally decided to move on. Shame really as the local branch have good long term staff .... but the real issues are higher up the chain.

This is yet another example of outsourcing not delivering (Accenture) and another company using outsourced IT support rather than a professional, committed in-house team.

Good luck hiring IBM, because most of their decent people either got the Ruud Gullit or moved on somewhere else.

I have a real issue with outsourcing, especially when seing what's recently happened with Carillion and Crapita, and any company who I find willingly using it to save a quick buck (in the short term of course) will be losing my business.

Doctor Syntax
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Re: A disaster

"Shame really as the local branch have good long term staff"

It was one of the staff of a local branch when it was part of Lloyds that prompted me to leave Lloyds although the damage had been done when Lloyds closed my preferred local branch. Just as well I did - maybe I'd have been transferred over to TSB when they split.

LucreLout
Silver badge

Re: A disaster

This is yet another example of outsourcing not delivering

It never does. It never does.

It might look like it does if you're a bean counter and you spaff costs into different pots for shits & giggles, but in the real world, it never does.

James Anderson

Re: A disaster

Except read the smallprint.

Accenture provided the basic Alnova software package.

Which was customised installed and managed by in house personnell.

Not that I have ever seen outsourcing work well for anyone -- bit its not to blame in this case.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: A disaster

"Accenture provided the ..." <- Most likely culprit.

Fruit and Nutcase
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Pint

Re: A disaster

@AC

"Accenture provided the ..." <- Most likely culprit.

Wash your mouth out with soap and water,

Say 3 Hail Marys (or equivalent in your following),

Then have a Beer!

Dan 55
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Re: A disaster

Sabadell bought the system off Accenture, but Accenture is involved in this migration as well as in-house staff. I guess Accenture sold that snake oil by claiming they still had the expertise but anyone who saw that system more than a decade ago has either left or is doing something else by now.

So what happened is Accenture got paid money to get rid of a piece of crap and still raking in the consultancy fees now for a failed migration.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: A disaster

Accenture == NSFW.

PipV
Coat

Totally Shambolic Bank recruits International Billing Machine

What could possible go wrong?

Mines the one with the missing Beans in the pockets

JimmyPage
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Stop

promising that no one would be "left out of pocket".

but to what extent ?

When HSBC went titsup there were tales of house purchases which failed (HTF can you recompense that ????) plus business contracts which failed, and (presumably) bargains via eBay etc which were gone - forever.

Admittedly there haven't been any stories from that fuckup about custmers being left out of pocket. But I remain deeply cynical.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

not a customer

sounds like a complex undertaking done for good reasons. Customers should just be patient and not get agitated.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: not a customer

"sounds like a complex undertaking done for good reasons. Customers should just be patient and not get agitated."

Sure, they're doing it for the right reasons, but it seems to have been a monumental cockup.

Nationwide did the same thing a few years back with a much higher level of success. I wonder how much outsourcing, offshoring and asset stripping they've had over the same period compared to the for profit big boys?

If you couldn't get access to your money, pay bills, etc, you'd quite rightly be "agitated". Not even the branch staff can help as their system is completely fluffed too (the BBC report quotes a manager, who says their system even helpfully has all the error messages in Spanish!)

gv

Re: not a customer

On the contrary, customers should get very agitated. This is a core banking platform migration, so there should have been extensive contingency planning, testing and a fallback system in place.

"to help identify and resolve performance issues in the platform"

A good rule of thumb is to do this BEFORE going live.

Doctor Syntax
Silver badge

Re: not a customer

sounds like a complex undertaking done badly for good reasons.

FTFY

I'm not a customer either - I escaped that fate. If I were I'd certainly be agitated.

There's an old saying, "if you fail to plan you plan to fail". What does the present situation tell you about their plans?

katrinab
Silver badge

Re: not a customer

The error message I mostly get is java.lang.NullPointerException

colinb

Re: not a customer

They are not a ffing corner shop.

If a Bank can't be trusted to handle your money responsibly it can cause things like bank runs. Bank runs can be contagious.

RBS was fined £56 million for a botched IT upgrade, so no the regulator doesn't like to chill either when avoidable crap happens.

scrubber
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The Great Northern (Rock) Run

Bank runs are only an issue because we don't realise that when we deposit money we are implicitly allowing the banks to lend it back out again to other people. Plus fractional reserve banking, but that's a religious war I don't need to get into right now.

Chris G
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Re: not a customer

Hmm, a banker?

defiler
Silver badge

Re: not a customer

Customers should just be patient and not get agitated.

Day 1, I agree completely. Day 6, we're running headlong into the end of the month.

Missed direct debits is one thing (I'll have a few between now and Monday, and I'd be miffed if they failed), but the bank can generally explain the problem to the recipient, handle the penalties etc. But what if I (not banking with TSB) were unable to get paid by my employer (hypothetically banking with TSB), and I am the one stung with penalties? Will TSB reimburse me?

Yes, it's a complex task. It's a huge task. And it needs huge planning, and regular checkpoints with back-out plans already in place. It seems that somebody skimped on the planning, and they committed to a course of action that didn't have a back-out plan ready to go.

I'm not saying I'm perfect. I've committed to system changes without a fast back-out that ended up biting me before, but we had a workaround already on the back burner before it happened, and were able to keep users running on that for the couple of weeks it took the devs to sort the latency issues with us. But this is beyond amateur hour. It's a bank. Not a small bank. They claim to have over 5 million customers. That means that a small disruption is a big issue.

d3vy
Silver badge

Re: not a customer

"sounds like a complex undertaking done for good reasons."

Well, You're right to an extent.

It IS a complex problem and they do need to do it.

"Customers should just be patient and not get agitated."

I wasn't agitated until at 7pm on Sunday (AFTER the switch over was meant to be complete) when my debit card stopped working (Its still not working now).

ATMs also seem sporadic - Though to be fair I've only tried once.

I can tell you now that 6 days on I am more than agitated I have two personal accounts one which is used just for bills and by this time of the month will be empty. The other has money in it but I cant get to it.

I also have three business accounts which I cant get to to pay wages out.. or check that Ive been paid by clients..

So my only option now is to go into a branch and HOPE that they can transfer the funds for me - from what I have read online this is a bit hit or miss at the moment.

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