back to article Halifax cuts investment accounts off from the web until April 2012

A British bank is closing off web acces access to its investment accounts while it works on "a fresh new site which is more secure and easier to use". The only downside is that this process will keep Halifax Bank of Scotland busy until April 2012. So anyone with an investment account at the banking group will need to manage …

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  1. Mexflyboy
    FAIL

    Halifax Bank of Scotland twunts

    I cannot believe that Halifax Bank of Scotland is going to be without a website for so long... what jackass at that bank thought of this? Any bank that cuts off a service of theirs that is nowadays akin to not being reachable by phone surely deserves to be given a wide berth? What next? No computers or calculators, all of their bankers must now rely on abaci??

    1. serviceWithASmile

      a title

      "No computers or calculators, all of their bankers must now rely on abaci??"

      if that was the case, i'd prefer them to the "computer says no" gimps in most other banks. atleast then you would also be able to watch them do their sums, so they wouldn't get away with anywhere near as much theft as they do now.

      also, i suspect giving a bank a wide berth in the current economic climate would be akin to sanctioning another bailout.

      just my 0.5% APR of my 2p

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      ...investment accounts...

      Not current accounts. I doubt they are *that* stupid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      It's not HBOS's fault

      It's Lloyds TSB, who bought them over.

      In January last year I spent a couple of months working with one of their programmers. They've transferred all the HBOS systems (which have served me well for the last few years) over to the Lloyds system (which so far has approximately bugger all of the useful stuff aside from showing you your account balances).

      A lot of their techies were really pissed about it- they didn't see why HBOS had to downgrade. And as a customer, neither do I!

      Also, HBOS isn't going to be without a website. Online Banking will still be available. It's just a bit of it- the investment banking- that's going to be offline for a year.

      1. Oliver 7

        It's not always as simple as all that

        It may be the case that the back-end systems at Lloyds are superior/more cost efficient thus they will cut over to the Lloyds set up across the board. This was done when NatWest and RBS merged, the RBS model was picked and everything was migrated over. This meant, for example, the NW branches which had fancy new Windows-based GUIs were suddenly suddenly working on "green screen" terminal emulators, much to their chagrin. However in the long run the integration was a commercial and corporate success and widely hailed as an exemplar in the industry.

        By contrast the Lloyds TSB integration was a disaster as they tried to cherry pick the best systems from each bank, by some accounts they were never able to fully integrate them and the costs were prohibitive. So perhaps they've actually learned a lesson there. Of course going without an investor Web site for a year or more does seem like cutting off the nose to spite the face.

        1. David Beck
          Thumb Down

          a commercial and corporate success?

          That would be the RBS of which I am a shareholder by benefit of my status as a UK taxpayer?

          And the Natwest which my daughter has to appear in branch to do almost anything with her account as almost nothing can be done on-line?

          Stripping out functionality until you reach the lowest common point only appears a success until you realise your customers are ex-customers and your "successful" system is part of the reason.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It's worse than that

    My BoS current account online service has been "upgraded" recently and will also lose all historical statements data on 18th April. It's lost a number of other features too that are apparently to be reintroduced in the coming months. They've royally screwed up across their entire online banking system, not just the investment accounts.

    1. John Riddoch

      back office...

      I suspect that in your case, they'll be moving your account from the old HBoS system to the Lloyds system. There's no point running two sets of applications for managing current accounts, after all, but removing functionality isn't the most user friendly way of doing it.

      1. Jeff Deacon

        re: back office

        It seems they are moving every system across to the Lloyds equivalent. In branch procedures recently changed as well. My guess about the length of down time for the web site is that it is to ensure everyone has forgotten what went before, so that when the "new" (ie rebadged Lloyds) offering is "unveiled" everyone will acclaim it.

        The greed of the managers who destroyed the rather successful Halifax Building Society should be recorded in the annals of British financial mismanagement.

    2. yakitoo

      Taxing

      .....lose all historical statements data on 18th April......

      Should be fun explaining that to the tax man when he call and wants to see 7 years of records.

    3. Jimmy 1

      The stench of Bwankers

      The loss of historical data is indefensible and surely cannot be attributed to any kind of insurmountable technical problems. More likely it's just the same old penny-pinching and utter contempt for its customers that Lloyds brings to the banking scene.

      The BoS on-line banking site that existed prior to the Lloyds intervention was a model of user friendliness and functionality which has now been reduced to a pile of unadulterated shit that looks likely to persist for a long time.

  3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    You're SURE they didn't mean April 2011?

    If so, then Wow.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    How to cause a run without really trying

    Seems like a very good time to move to another bank. Would you stay if you needed a modern service?

    1. john oates (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: You're SURE they didn't mean April 2011?

      I did phone and check, honest. My first thought was that it was a typo...

      cheers

    2. John Sturdy

      Now is not the time; then was the time

      It was time to move to another bank a couple of decades ago. They (Halifax) sent me a statement about six months late, with someone else's statement stapled to the back of it. I moved bank (around 1990 I think).

      Then there was the Munden case.

  5. Ted Treen
    Badgers

    Humph!

    If ever proof were needed of the contempt the *ankers have for the rest of us, this is it.

    Glad I switched to the Co-op some years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Coop

      Just remember, the Coop has loaned vast amounts of cash to NuLabour.

      Will it get it back, and if it doesn't, will you?

  6. Tony S
    Unhappy

    Seriously?

    I've been banking online for just under 10 years - I cannot imagine having to go back to a situation where I couldn't manage my money that way. I don't have a branch of my bank within 20 miles - my "home branch" is nearly 90 miles away.

    Although there are probably a number of people that won't use the service, I'm betting the number that do use it is higher than they are prepared to admit. Basically, HBoS is prepared to treat its customers with utter contempt.

    I would suggest that anyone with an account with them might want to consider switching to bank that can offer these services.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I Blame Lloyds

    By the looks of it, the "upgrade" is really a migration onto Lloyds systems.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Welcome

    Anyone who banks on-line...

    Deserves everything they get. Including contemptible customer service and data loss.....

    What do you think you're paying for? Service!!?

    If you can't engage on the banks terms then why are you using them. Remember, you bank with them, they don't have to offer a service. The taxpayer will bail them out. If you didn't need them you wouldn't bank with them, would you?

    Now **** off and get on with paying taxes you whinging gits. We are developing the future of Finance.....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Exciting?! They should get out more ...

    The statement 'an exciting new mobile banking service' fills me with dismay on 2 levels.

    Firstly the overuse of the word exciting by marketing types is doing my head in. Every new product, service, programme, application, opportunity, thing, etc is now described as 'exciting' by default as if that's the only word available and NONE of them ever are! Secondly, if anyone thinks that a financial services product or facility is likely to be 'exciting' then they really really need to get out in the sun, listen to some music and understand a little more about life.

    1. seanj
      Pint

      Re: Anyone who banks online...

      I was getting ready to call you all kinds of names, downvote your post, everything, until I continued past the first paragraph and caught the sarcasm...

      Instead of name-calling, have a beer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Re: I Blame Lloyds

      You're right it has been "upgraded".

      This is a bank where before they "merged" with HBOS used to batch up their cheques, send them via air to India where data entry clerks input them into the system, before sending the cheques back to the UK. It might be cheaper to an accountant but in terms of management it was a nightmare. Also, are bank tellers that overloaded with work that they can't enter the odd cheque (it's not a huge number) into the system directly. No, they're not. but the computer systems wouldn't have been able to cope - and no that's not a joke.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 1608

        Are you sure?

        Cheques have magnetic ink, so are readable by machine. As far as I am aware pretty much all other banks have cheque image systems which allow processing to be carried out at least semi electronically. Also, sending cheques to India for keying is of dubious legallity.

        Oh and it's not bank tellers that process cheques, it's the people in the cheque and cash processing centres, who then hand them on (physicall and/or electronically) to the clearing houses.

  10. Tim J
    Alert

    Re: Halifax Bank of Scotland twunts

    It's only the *investment accounts* that'll be without online access - regular current and savings accounts will continue to have access to an online banking system.

  11. Code Monkey

    "in the short term"

    Means 12 months of no access for your customers? No wonder they needed bailing out.

  12. Jeremy 2
    WTF?

    Wow

    I thought a 2 day outage by my bank was annoying.

    Presumably they're too poor to buy a few development servers?

  13. D1N0
    FAIL

    Complain!

    I rang HBOS the day after receiving the letter. Very nice chap I spoke to said that they'd only found out the same day and were expecting a lot of complaints.

    I will of course be considering moving my money elsewhere ASAP.

    Mind you, this is the same bank who a few years ago could not place the decimal point correctly on their website, so that the two pence digits would be the pound column, then the tens of pence, so that a balance of £1,234.56 would appear as £1,234.45.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      You are assuming

      that people read the article and thought "oh, its investment accounts so it's not a problem for "normal" people rather than just read the headline and then came to post knee jerk comments ;-)

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      And?

      Why should that make a difference?

      Being offline for a year for ANY account in this day and age is unforgivable... And how long before the same ridiculus outage is foisted on their other account customers...

    3. Gaius
      FAIL

      ISAs

      "Normal people" have ISAs, y'know.

    4. Duncan Hothersall

      Two points

      1. BoS calls a significant part of their range of savings accounts "investment accounts", so it IS ordinary savings accounts that are being cut off for a year.

      2. While not covered in the story, this same migration is affecting ALL accounts including current accounts, with features like historical statements being removed.

      So all BoS customers are affected, in fact, not just some perceived elite.

    5. Mexflyboy
      Badgers

      It's still a problem because...

      ...like it or not, even *investment* account holders (presumably not you then?) deserve service that is newer/better than the telegraph...

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Sam Liddicott

      Let us know what you find out...

      Let us know what you find out...

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Joke

        And...

        And please provide your bank account details and credit card number as i Mr Mtababo from Ivory Coast would like to share the 100 million ponds I have taken from the government during the current coupe. If you agree to helping me, i will give you 10%....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Bugger

    HBOS are one of the few UK high-street banks that didn't have a problem when we (as overseas investors) wanted to manage our UK savings somewhere. All the rest just looked frightened at the idea of not having a UK address for an account holder.

    How am I supposed to manage things now? Twunts indeed.

    1. Marcus Aurelius
      Go

      Try HSBC

      They're probably more used to overseas investors than any other.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Are you sure they are twunts?

      and not cats?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One way of keeping your cash

    It's one way of keeping your cash, by making it very difficult to let you get it.

    No doubt they have a funding problem as well as a techie problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      And another way is...

      ...Vilified by Visa.

      Seemingly designed to stop any Internet based transactions from succeeding.

      1. Steve Renouf
        Thumb Down

        Works fine here...

        and it's the only available guarantee for the merchant that he won't get a chargeback a month down the line because the customer claims he never made the transaction...

  17. Tom_
    FAIL

    Leaving Halifax

    I don't have much luck with banks. I left Lloyds and moved to Halifax about six months before they joined into the same thing.

    This change to the online banking means I will now be leaving Halifax too. Not only are they saying you won't be able to manage investments online, they're also removing access to all your old credit card statements.

    I honestly don't understand how they can be so shit.

    I wonder if Google Bank will be any better when it rolls out next year.

    1. Gulfie
      Big Brother

      Ooh, Google Bank!

      I can see it now... I'm browsing the web and I get two adverts side by side. One is pushing sports cars because I've looked at too many BMW Z4 and Lotus Exige pictures, the other is from Google Bank saying "go on, you know you want one, we've already pre-approved your loan, credit checked you, and we also know you're not currently thinking of changing job..."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So

        No real difference to current banks then? Apart from better computers and websites. And probably better customer service too. And they won't have been responsible for the financial crisis either. Yeah, evil Google bastards.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Simples

    It is as the article suggests very simple, Lloyds waded in and fired all of the developers or annoyed them into moving. Those that are left were then left babysitting offshore developers, now we see the results!

    Ex-Halifax Employee

  19. Tom 38 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    HSBC is pretty good

    Although they screw you over just as much as the next bank. Apart from that, truly global presence, and never even came close to asking for bailout money, from any government. Plus, they give you proper VISA debit cards now, rather than Maestro, which gets puzzled looks whenever you try to use it abroad. They're also rolling out 2-factor authentication systems for internet banking.

    Barclays probably also not bad, but I really really would like to punch Bob Diamond*

    * Note: this is not a threat. I just would like to do it, not that I ever would. Can't be too careful these days. Also, Bob, if you're reading, any jobs going?

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Puzzled looks abroad?

      You aren't trying to use it somewhere backwards like America are you? My French bank offered Visa Debit. Works just fine, both online and in the chip&pin reader. These days, the checkout girls don't even bother trying to see what sort of card it is, either it works in the reader or you can take your sorry ass to the cash machine...

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Stop

        @heyrick

        Slight misread - no problem with VISA debit, used that on 4 continents. Maestro used to get strange looks wherever I used it, which is why I'm glad they no longer issue them.

        1. Steve Renouf

          ?12?

          Never had any problems with Maestro in the countries I've visited. Like the other guy said - they either work in the machine or they don't.

  20. despairing citizen
    FAIL

    Typo Slip Up?

    From the website;

    General Customer Complaints

    0845 725 3519

    Email: customerrelations@halifax.co.uk

    No general customer enquiries number though, do you think they had a premonition?

  21. Stuart 22
    FAIL

    1983 and all that ...

    Opened my first BoS account in 1983 as they were the first UK bank to go fully online for personal accounts (using Prestel with Nottingham Building Society!).

    From the front and to the back. And now being combined with Lloyds - will customers have to endure another outage if the EU/FSA force them to sell off more branches and accounts to RBS et al.

    Banking, you couldn't make it up ...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Example of poor standards in british senior managers

    This is what happens when you have a country where a senior manager thinks saying "I don't do this IT stuff" is a good thing, rather than a reason why they should be fired.

  23. anarchic-teapot

    Note to self

    Get a move on and close that damn account once and for all. Banking by 'phone only is not an option.

    *Sigh* What idiot thought this wouldn't lose them customers?

    1. David Beck

      Investment accounts, you can't just close these

      Think about it. They chose to screw the investment account holders specifically because you can't just close the account. If they had done it to the current or straight savings (any of those left?) they knew that since there is no legal problem with moving the account they would. But investment accounts are typically one to five year investments with expensive escape clauses. They knew exactly what they were doing and exactly who they are screwing.

  24. Richard Porter
    FAIL

    Wunch of bankers!

    So if they've got your money you can't get access to it, but if you've got their money i bet it's a different story.

    Anyway why can't they develop the new site offline and then just shut down for a bank holiday weekend while they flip it over?

  25. Paul Nothard
    FAIL

    HOBS

    Bring back HOBS I say (Home Office Banking System) ... which was that there 1985 Prestel based 'teletext' screen mega cool dial-up banking !

    This problem, as others have said, is for only a few types of accounts. All my BofS accounts are fine although they'll 'loose' historic statements. That's cr*p.

    Bigger issue for me is how many banks do NOT allow home banking apps to access their date as they do in the US. That's just such a pain.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Pass books

    I recall having to handle my late Uncle's probate 5 years ago. He had some Halifax accounts and to my astonishment, they didn't have proper CCLCB account numbers and sort codes but made use of the old 'passbook' number with a bodged up common a/c number. At that point I realised I was dealing with a quill pen outfit (think Gringots), still running back office systems from the 70s, and resolved NEVER to have an account there. It seems I was right.

  27. Rombizio
    Grenade

    Don't complain...

    Be a client of a different bank. You punish stupidity like this with a big hit in their pockets. If half of the people leave, they will a) disappear or b) learn the lesson.

    1. CD001

      or c)

      Or C) beg the government for another big wodge of cash to keep them solvent.

  28. Danny 14 Silver badge

    neat!

    I like the idea that when I log in it asks me to save all the paper free documents to my PC before 18th April unfortunately it doesnt HAVE a button to take me to my paper free section any more.

    Fuckers.

    Well, time to look elsewhere (im sure someone is offering cashback for an account transfer.)

  29. Johan Bastiaansen
    Joke

    put it on a floppy disk

    Why can't they put their interwebs on a floppy disk and send it to people over snail mail?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But I don't have floppy disk drive any more

      Do they allow downloads by CSV or some other format?

      I've never had a problem with HSBC and an address outside the UK.

  30. dustofnations
    Alert

    Stupidity beyond comprehension

    I cannot begin to imagine the meeting that took place where some management thought it was a good idea to.

    A. Make all old on-line statements unavailable, despite the fact they could _easily_ migrate these to some static state and retain an acceptable level of accessibility (even if ugly and stuck in the old format), and therefore avoid defecating on your own customers from a great height.

    B. Removing a site before a shoe-in replacement is available. This is bordering on moronic. Albeit much of their stuff is just re-sold investment products. However, this is still inexplicably stupid.

    Presumably their justification is solely "it saves us money to do it this way", and customers can do sod-all about it - you can play it by our terms or eff off :-).

    I am with Halifax for now. How much longer is highly questionable given that their website stinks.

    Thank God we saved these institutions from financial ruin during the recession. Thank God!

  31. Remy Redert

    re: Don't complain

    Or c) Get a bailout from the UK government for a few billion pounds after a portion of their customers leave.

  32. NightFox
    Happy

    At last...

    Finally, the beginning of the end of this www Internet fad. Knew it would never last.

    Looking forward to receiving 'The Register' IT fanzine in its new photocopied format through the postbox once a month soon. Please drop me a telegram if you can no longer find my address in your Rolodex.

  33. T J
    FAIL

    Bye guys

    Bye!

  34. arwel
    Unhappy

    Security too good

    This is the bank which enhanced its security so that in addition to the sign-on and password you now have to enter the x, y, and zth characters of a "memorable" phrase to get in to your account - which is so memorable I can never remember it and have to have it reset every time I want to access my account. At least it keeps the usage down.

  35. ttuk
    Thumb Down

    isas

    It's very annoying.. thankfully it is ONLY the investment accounts and not current / regular savings accounts affected..

    It'll be a bit of a pain but I can still monitor the value of my sotcks and shares ISA on google or yahoo finance all the funds are listed on there

  36. Clive 3
    FAIL

    Hiding their poor investment record

    I made investments into the Halifax in October 2007 – at one point the value fell to half of what I put in and they are only just breaking even at the moment. I would have got the same amount of interest if I had put it under the bed – and without the stress of seeing it fall.

    I think it may be time to ditch them and put my money somewhere else.

    1. Gulfie
      FAIL

      Re: poor investment record

      Ha, sounds just like the ISA I have with them. Five years old, and it is now almost worth the cash I've paid in. Of course it'll cost to take the money out...

  37. Tim J

    @Mexflyboy

    No, I don't have an investment account with HBOS / Lloyds Banking Group - does that make me a bad person?

    1. Mexflyboy
      Joke

      @Tim J: No, it doesn't make you a bad person...

      ...it just makes you a twunt for being dismissive about the inconvenience caused to those of us who do have one! :-P

  38. lp15

    Another nonstory

    They aren't closing their website. They are just removing investment accounts from it. I wonder what percentage of their customers have equity investments with them? Not many.

  39. Mike Cresswell
    FAIL

    It's not just their Web Site

    Seems to me that what is really going on is that Lloyds are dumbing down the HBOS systems to their level. "We bought them so they have to be transferred onto our systems and processes even if theirs are (marginally) better"

    In the past, when you went into an HBOS branch to pay in cash or a cheque all they needed to do was swipe your debit card and take the cash or cheque. Then they automatically gave you a printed receipt.

    Now you have to manually fill in a paying in slip (like you have always had to do in Lloyds). So that's more great progress eh?

    Still, at least they still automatically give you a receipt unlike Lloyds where you have to ask for one and get funny looks for doing so. Wonder how long before HBOS adopt this part of the Lloyds model as well?

    I agree with the comment above about "Gringots" but I think it applies to Lloyds even more than to HBOS.

  40. Andus McCoatover

    Jeez H. effin' WEPT!

    Sorry, John, I thought you were pulling our collective plonkers with this story.

    'Till I read:

    http://www.halifax.co.uk/aboutonline/whats-changing/?tag=hpc_p9_pr_hea_r1

    I dunno whether to weep or laugh.

    It seems to have been because the number of droids sacked, to save money.

    Oh, God. Thankfully, I'm not in UK anymore.

  41. kain preacher Silver badge

    Cheatum & scruw yu.

    well come to the bank of Cheatum & scruw yu. ATM fee £ 2.5. Bank teller fee £ 10. fee to see a manger £ 25. Inter net baking fee £ 10 a month . Yes I see you are upset about not having access to internet banking. No I can not waiver the monthly access fee for internet banking. Yes I know it will be down for a year. Here call this number to complain. It will cost you 99p a minute to call, Don't try and call it from a cellar phone as most cell phone companies block the number . If your cellar company is silly enough to let you call us it will be $10 access fee plus $10 connection fee and a $10 termination fee. Yes these fees are in USD $ and as your bank we will be charging you £ 2.55 charge for monetary conversion fee per transaction. Each fee is considered a septate transaction . We will be charging you £5 for every £100 you with draw. £50 to close out your account. Failure to pay these fees and we will report you for position of extreme porn. Thank you and have a bad day.

  42. Richard Porter
    Thumb Up

    Re: HOBS

    Yes I remember HOBS, though I went with Nottingham B.S's Homelink service (using the BBC B and Prestel adapter of course). Online banking in the 80s was so much more straightforward.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the kind of action

    That makes me glad I switched from a *ank to a building society (which I did soon after the now famous run on Northern Rock).

  44. Refugee from Windows
    Alert

    Sounds like an opportunity for the lads in Lagos

    Dear Valued Customer, we are pleased to announce our new banking website. Please confirm your details by clicking on the link.

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