back to article TSB goes TITSUP: Total Inability To Surprise Users, Probably

TSB customers that stuck with the embattled bank after this year's major IT foul-up have been left questioning their loyalty as systems went down again this weekend. In scenes that are now all too familiar, the bank's systems stuttered shortly after they were taken down for planned maintenance. TSB said on Friday that online …

  1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    *applause*

    For finding more wossnames for TSB... I've quite exhausted mine!

    1. Oh Homer

      Have another one...

      TSB, we're the Terrible Service Bank.

      1. AlexGreyhead
        Coat

        Re: Have another one...

        Transactions Simply Buggered?

        (Today I'm sporting the one with the empty cheque book in the pocket. I'll see myself out...)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    left questioning their loyalty

    Loyalty to TSB? - a strange notion, to be 'loyal' to such an incompetent business.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: left questioning their loyalty

      "...Loyalty to TSB? - a strange notion, to be 'loyal' to such an incompetent business..."

      Totally agree.

      And even if the stories of this kind of incompetence we're enough to put me off, that story first outage round, about the poor sod sat watching his funds disappear whilst he was on hold to the TSB fraud team were more than enough to make me never want to bank with them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: left questioning their loyalty

      I can't speak truly around UK bank practices but I have to question what id10t collection of manglement schedules maintenance around the first five days of the month? Simply looking at your transaction numbers should show when you should schedule your downtime.

      I also have to question the competency of IT, at least at the engineering level, for not having in place options to roll-back whatever they've done in a quick and reasonable manner. Lord knows how many times I've seen updates completely blow away databases. Actually, I do know. Five. That's the point I stepped way above my pay-grade and took over the sysadmin duties for our mainframe. I made it a point to assume that everything was going to go TITSUP and planned accordingly. [I had to go in, analyze the new code base and the differences between the old databases and what the new databases would look like, hand modify the fully backed up databases using an undocumented tool and then install the new code. It was nice not having the reinventory the entire ship's parts supply, taking at least 15 days, again, and again, and again.... One nice thing about COBOL, you just have to have a programming background to understand what is being done where and when, even if not a clue why.]

      So... been there, done that, burned the stupid T-shirt. What's their excuse?

    3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Social media team said

      Hi Liam. I'm sorry to read your tweet. Could you please DM more information around what's happened? Many thanks. Lesley

      Thats just adding insult to injury surely?

  3. Herby

    In other news...

    The bank I deal with gets a scandal just about every week these days, but somehow my money hasn't had any problems.

    Go figure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other news...

      Somehow, I have had no problems with RBS either. Though, only time will tell with virtually every branch in England closing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RBS

        Not every RBS branch in England is closing, there will still be plenty of them which have "NatWest" signs above the door. (You do realise that "NatWest" is just an RBS brand name these days, with the same widgets inside the box packaging?)

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "some of our customers are experiencing intermittent issues with online and mobile banking"

    Yeah, 99% is "some".

    The same old words, the same lame excuses, the same bungling ineptitude. I feel like yawning, it's not even funny any more.

    On the other hand, maybe TSB is going to be the first bank where customers actually vote with their feet.

    Nah, not gonna happen.

    So, what's the news about bears in the forests these days ? . . .

    1. adam payne Silver badge

      Re: "some of our customers are experiencing intermittent issues with online and mobile banking"

      I have no problem with people leaving the bank just as long as don't get another bail out situation.

    2. Benchops

      Re: "some of our customers are experiencing intermittent issues with online and mobile banking"

      "some of our customers" == only those users that tried to use the online services.

      "intermittent" == they only had problems when they tried to use online services.

      It would be absolutely true to say that those customers who didn't try and use online services over the weekend experienced no problems. Also, those users who did try to use online services had no problems when they weren't trying.

      It would also be true to say that the experience of users when trying to use online services was "normal" (for TSB).

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: "some of our customers are experiencing intermittent issues with online and mobile banking"

        Moreso... "ARE experiencing" - present tense - of your subset (only users of mobile app, only when they tried), it's only those who are currently trying that we're commenting on.

        It's also true to say that many more users have experienced some issues over the last few days.

        1. Sir Loin Of Beef

          Re: "some of our customers are experiencing intermittent issues with online and mobile banking"

          "Some users are fans of TSB, but many, many, many More users are NOT fans of TSB. This article is for the latter."

  5. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ
    FAIL

    feckless bunch of gobshites.

    " ..... and even resorted to pointing out that customers' cards still worked. "

    what a bunch of gobshites they are. big deal, most people who are trying to access the online services are doing so for anything but spending cash on a card.

    My TSB account gets used just for my paypal account as a safety buffer so my main bank account is not exposed to paypal nonsense. money coming from paypal goes into it then gets transferred straight from TSB to my main account, the card is in a draw somewhere still in the envelope it came in....

    on Sunday, I emptied my paypal account into TSB then tried to log in to transfer it to my missus so she could do an online shop. No can do....it wasn't until late in the day I could get it sorted out.

    fortunately for us, we were not relying on that money and had access to other funds, but what about the large number of people in the country that scrape by from day to day, people needing to pay a bill?

    I dont think I would trust the TSB for my day to day banking. I dont think I would trust them with my jar of loose change !!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Loose change?

      Do they even allow that anymore? Most refuse it. :(

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Loose change?

        Do they even allow that anymore? Most refuse it. :(

        That's why you use the self-service till. It's like commission-free Coinstar.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: what's the problem?

      The problem is that you think you are a "customer" ... you are not, you are a self-plucking chicken - go back to the end of the line and start plucking - you will be serviced as soon as the systems are back up on-line. Welcome to modern banking.

    2. Saruman the White Bronze badge

      Re: what's the problem?

      "... But so are all the other banks ..."

      I've had no problems with Nationwide!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've had no problems with Nationwide!

        Believe me, they're pretty shit too.

        A few years ago, out of nowhere, a new debit card arrived in the post. I immediately contacted customer services who were unable to say anything more that "it's fraud innit". Obviously concerned, I asked what had raised their suspicions, as I wanted to immediately see what other damage had been done.

        "We can't tell you that, data protection. Or something."

        What really irked me was that they had also cancelled my existing card WITHOUT NOTIFYING ME. If I had been abroad, using my card, I would have been shafted.

        I was annoyed enough to got to the Ombudsman. Who I discovered are a waste of time. Unless you can demonstrate a loss, they can't do anything.

        I continue to use Nationwide. But they're no better than anyone else.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I've had no problems with Nationwide!

          Yes nationwide building society is definately worth moving your money to.

          Of the high street banks/building societies, I spoke to when I set my daughters account up, their's was the only one that commited to not passing personal information to Equifax or Experian this is a student account without an overdraft.

          On their student account they included a sort of ISA paying 6% if the acc holder wanted to save £10 per week I believe.

          So given my experience then I would say Nationwide is well worth a look at, if like me, you are sick of the banks treating you like they are doing you some sort of favour by making money off you.

      2. S4qFBxkFFg

        Re: what's the problem?

        I agree - but they're not a bank, which may go some way to explaining this situation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: what's the problem?

          Try first direct - I think they are better than most (despite HSBC backend)

      3. Benchops

        Re: what's the problem?

        "\"... But so are all the other banks ...\"

        I've had no problems with Nationwide!"

        Not a bank... (not commenting on their online service, though I've had no problems with it ever)

    3. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

      Re: what's the problem?

      I totally agree, the other banks are Sh**, however for the most part they are substantially less Sh**.

      It is probably not realistic to expect bulletproof availability of a bank's complex systems either, however not knowing the state of their own systems is a rather deeper concern given the number of ways to test it.

      I also have a worry that there always seems to be "only" x% of customers impacts. How do you do that? if you know a certain product or feature is causing the breakage, just tell the poor customers. If your IT can randomly break a % of users I suggest you are most likely missing some software distributions or service restarts. This would not bode well... and can lead to exciting but hidden data corruptions in the right circumstances.

    4. Ian Johnston

      Re: what's the problem?

      TSB is shite. But so are all the other banks.

      I have a German (Sparkasse) account. Internet banking with them is easy: the interface is intuitive and far more powerful than anything I've seen from UK banks. The Co-Op, for example, has internet banking which can only store six months' worth of statements.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: what's the problem?

      "I don't know anyone in UI who could write something so crap."

      It does bear a resemblance to GDS stuff.

  7. Lee D Silver badge

    Four words for you:

    Current account switch guarantee.

    Savings accounts - well, you shouldn't be dipping into them for every little thing anyway, but I'd also think about whether you want your savings in a bank that can't get IT working and is losing hundreds of millions of pounds in fees alone, let alone what it's cost them in terms of lost business.

    1. Valeyard

      The only thing saving TSB is that the general public just can't be bothered switching to another bank, or aren't aware that they can

      1. davemcwish

        Re: How long...

        @Valeyard Or that there is one that is significantly better

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: How long...

          As someone who has blacklisted most of the high street banks due to (admittedly) generally isolated cock-ups, I can tell you there are still plenty of options. Especially for tech savvy.

          I abandoned Barclays after the university branch (the only bank allowed to have one) refused to pay a Barclaycard (separate company I know) debt using a Barclays-issued grant cheque, in my name, provided to me from that same branch by the university itself, unless I also took out a Barclays current account. Despite, for three years, them doing the same every single month without question or ID.

          I abandoned NatWest after they couldn't sort out, in the early era of online banking, an online banking that didn't require IE and ActiveX and never worked in Netscape even though they said it would.

          I abandoned HSBC after a guy in the branch literally laughed in my face when we gave him the details while applying for a mortgage. So we went next door, to a mortgage lender, who approved us on the spot and was paid on-time every month for several years until we moved (and then it was paid off in full).

          I've actually been put onto Monzo by someone on these forums. Sign up via an app (just a photo of your ID is needed). Get a full UK bank account under the same financial guarantees as any other, regulated by the same authorities. No monthly charges. Everything you would normally want (DD/standing order/transfers/etc. etc.). You get a Mastercard on the account sent to you. You can manage everything online. Even just drag-and-slide an overdraft or freeze your card yourself if you lose it.

          Sure, there's probably a downside somewhere that I'll discover in time. And then maybe it'll be so insurmountable that I'll move my money again. But if you stay with the rubbish companies even through their failures (surely they must be asking "how many accounts have we lost over this?" at some point), then they'll fix their stuff next time, or you'll recognise how much you meant to them. While you do the "oh, but it's so complicated to move" when a free bank will give you an account in a matter of hours from just a photo of your ID, move everything under the current account switch guarantee so you never have to change anything, and then allow you to do that again if something happens, the other banks have NOTHING to care about in order to retain your custom.

          Same for car insurance etc. My renewal this year was THREE TIMES what a rival company was charging. And that rival company was underwritten by the same firm. They literally care more about new customers than existing ones of many years. So show them what such loyalty gives back... all their customers flee for elsewhere as they have NO distinguishing features, except negative ones (i.e. nothing works or they cost more than everyone else).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How long...

            Gave up on Ulster Bank (RBS) after paying in summer job wages and asking for a student account, they gave me a basic account. When my classmates were using debit cards to buy textbooks and I couldn't, I went back and asked why my "student" account didn't have such. Got a "computer says no" reply that I wasn't in full time employment (hence the wanting a student account). Got rid.

            Lloyds TSB, as they were, were throwing everything at students - £100 to join, debit card, chequebook, overdraft facility, credit card. However for various reasons I moved back to NI which didn't have a Lloyds TSB. I wanted to pay off the credit card and was told my the customer service rep that I needed to visit a branch. I explained that it would require a ferry trip at least but they didn't seem interested. Turned out all I needed to do was send off the slip from the bottom of the statement.

            Went to First Trust who were what TSB used to be in NI, however a bank that needs a separate card for ATMs and debits didn't inspire confidence, the web interface was basic, and when they ballsed up the numbers of a couple of direct debits switching over that was when I started to feel uncomfortable.

            Went to Alliance and Leicester who then got borged into Santander. Have had issues with the Verified by Visa which still thought I lived at my old address, and their credit card can't be paid easily from the current account despite both appearing on the online app.

            I won't touch Nationwide on principle of their adverts which are like some Apprentice rejects task. "OK team, urban poetry is trendy, let's go with that".

            The whole banking system is corrupt and inherently evil.

            Imagine going onto dragons den - "OK you give me your money and I hold onto it."

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              'You get a Mastercard...there's probably a downside somewhere that I'll discover in time'

              One downside:

              ____________________

              Google & Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales

              https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-30/google-and-mastercard-cut-a-secret-ad-deal-to-track-retail-sales

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Nationwide's adverts

              Yes, Nationwide's adverts annoy the heck out of me too (so sickly twee and irritatingly "cutesy" that even that Howard bloke is possibly less annoying), but, like most adverts, I rarely see them (OK, I got caught out at the cinema once).

              Thanks to the internet, there really is not all that much point in gift-boxed lies (I mean adverts) any more. Reputation and word of mouth is all that really matters in making, or breaking, any product.

              There really is only one person in the UK that the entire financial sector needs to talk to directly nowadays: Martin Lewis and his MoneySavingExpert website (all due credit, and thanks, to him for finding and occupying a useful, and lucrative, niche).

              If he gives TSB the thumbs down for screwing up again (as he probably should), that could probably be the end of them. But then again, there are still people who use RBS, even after they have had every one of their "three strikes".

              I'm prepared to give TSB one more chance (I only have them as my backup account, thankfully), but, if, after that...

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: How long...

            surely they must be asking "how many accounts have we lost over this?" at some point

            They don't need to. They gain as many from others as they lose because they've dead-heated in the race to the bottom. It needs one of them to realise there are net gains for being better.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How long...

            They literally care more about new customers than existing ones of many years.

            That's normal for banks, insurers, energy, ISPs, mobile phones, pay TV, car beakdown cover....just about any rolling or renewing service.

            "Customer acquisition pricing" is the norm, and translated to English is "we offer loss making deals to secure new business, initially paid for from the higher profits on loyal customers, but believing that sufficient "switchers" will stay on after the discount expires to make us money".

            This model relies on most people being fairly inert, and needing a high price differential to switch - so a company can recruit new customers but only by selling an introductory offer below their long term average cost. In the energy sector, the government's continued interference is seeing a price cap introduced, the consequence of which is that the good deals are already drying up (because margins on inert customers will be lower), and the benefit from switching will be greatly reduced (so fewer people will bother). "Hooray!" I hear you all cheer. But actually what you'd be cheering is a price rise for those of you who pay attention, use comparison web sites and switch suppliers. If you agree with this for energy, then you'd presumably agree that we should do the same for insurance, telecoms...even food and petrol. Welcome to Venezuela.

            So there certainly are alternatives to the "rewarding of disloyalty", but the main one is the government deciding prices for you, and the loss of the opportunity for the savvy customers to shop around and take advantage of the deals on offer. You might not like it, but the alternatives are not ideal either.

            1. Lee D Silver badge

              Re: How long...

              Personally, I'm quite happy with not being able to get a better deal than others.

              It makes the process so much easier, because NOBODY has any choice, and it's not worth the faff.

              That doesn't mean "we should all pay inflated prices", but "normal customers get the same deals as those who are just more diligent" isn't a bad thing.

              As you hint: People don't move until there is sufficient gradient difference to overcome friction. My times costs money and saving £10 a year on electric isn't worth any amount of the most minor research and clicking buttons and tracking who I need to pay now. But when there is a differential, I invest time and effort to get a better deal.

              Not having those deals means that the differential becomes zero. So we all get a decent deal. I don't spend time faffing. And electric "just costs that much". If it's too much, I'll find another utility. Same way that when phone+broadband+TV cost too much, I just bought a 4G Wifi box.

              But it's a nonsense to suggest that screwing over little old grannies whose son set them up on the deal 10 years ago (and who might not be around any more!) when they don't know they could save hundreds is a good thing for any one involved. Price controls exist to protect the vulnerable like that.

              Personally, I think the whole thing would be a damn sight easier if we all just paid one rate for electric from one supplier. Average it out over the country, make it so that companies make decent profit (or else they won't want to take part), everyone gets the same deal, sorted.

              The time, effort and faffing saved if we did that for all such utilities would translate to everyone having more time/money.

              As someone who cut £300 off my car insurance this year (literally an annual "GoCompare" so I did nothing fancy), doesn't have gas, a phone, landline broadband, a TV, etc. I assure you that I know how to save money. But for the most part it just isn't worth the time and effort, and when it is, it's for unfathomable and unrealistic reasons (e.g. my car insurance is still BISL... I just changed the company that administers on the front end with the EXACT SAME details... saved £300... there's no sense in that whatsoever... Halifax lost a customer for nearly £800, rather than lose £300, and their rival RAC picked up £500 for doing nothing but running a front-end on an existing insurer with the same details. The real irony is that the RAC included breakdown cover which I was paying for as an extra with Halifax... from the RAC...).

              I wanted an electricity supplier change, but they would need to call someone out to do it because of the archaic meter. Turns out that just one day spent home waiting for them is about 3 times the cost of anything I'll save in the first year. And I might not be here in 3 year's time. And that's assuming the company I go to don't raise their prices in the future.

              It's a false economy to suggest that having these companies "play off against each other" is doing anything to lower prices at all, even for the deal-seekers.

              The government fixing the prices kills the commercial market overnight and customers pay what they would have paid anyway, without the faffing and advertising and paperwork and admin and duplication of effort that all those companies are doing to "win" customers, not to mention shareholder deals etc. It also means we can all just get on with our lives and not have to waste time changing suppliers and checking prices in the first place. Hell, it would kill all the price comparison sites overnight too. What's to compare?

              I think it's just a placebo, "getting the best prices". If you fail to do it, sure you will lose out. But doing it doesn't mean you'll get something any better than what you'd get with just blanket regulation and fixed prices. Just the sheer removal of so many private-owned, shareholder-paying, corporate middle-men should remove enough to get you a better price that ever. The trick is to "nationalise" without letting government cronies get their 10% either. You can only do that with transparency and calling them out, and yet no-one cares that most ministers are profiting from exactly the industries they are supposed to be regulating because there's a bit of paper somewhere that says that.

          4. Jtom

            Re: How long...

            Studies on ‘loyalty’ show that loyal customers are the first ones screwed by a company. Companies are now operating under the (pretty good) assumption that the longer a customer stays, the less likely they are to switch due to increased costs or reduced services. The belief is that the customer is too lazy/stupid/time-challenged to research alternatives and leave.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Or TSB's switching process is hosed and people can't be bothered to do it manually.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Current account switch guarantee."

      Seven words for you:

      Now find a bank worth switching to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Now find a bank worth switching to.

        Try instead switching to a building society, then you rather than external shareholders are the one they listen to.

  8. Jay 2

    I must have been one of the lucky ones, I managed to log in around 1630 yesterday. Fortunately for me it's not my main account. Though there must be quite a bit still broken as before the big debacle if you already had an account you could apply for others online. After the debacle that all stopped ("coming soon") and it's only recently that they've started to allow online applications again for some account types.

    As I'm a bit of a rate tart, then I've got quite a few accounts from different providers. It may pain me to say it, but TSB's front end is a lot better (eg clean and easy to navigate) than some of its competitors.

  9. Bavaria Blu
    FAIL

    banks should charge fees like any other business

    I know with software these days freemium is all the rage - but surely banking is more important?

    A monthly fee of 5 to 8 quid would mean they could offer a better service and it would promote real competition. Even paying for branch access would hopefully make better use of the space - less queues for a start.

    Otherwise we are stuck with high hidden charges especially for international transfers which really shouldn't cost any more than domestic ones. It would also be good to have better integration between services - why not have a nominee account with all your fund and share holdings viewable within the same website rather than having to switch around.

    People are so unwilling to switch banks, customer loyality is high even with banks which offer mediocre service like TSB.

    1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

      Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

      A monthly fee of 5 to 8 quid would mean they could offer a better service

      no, no, and no....

      the only thing that a fee would do is empty your account of 5 to 8 quid a month.

      They offer online services so they can close down branches which cost a lot more to run, and back in the day it was to scoop up customers by offering services others do not offer.

      if they did try to charge for online services, i think that will be the final straw and people would leave.

      1. Danger Mouth

        Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

        Every month I lend my salary and savings to a bank. They then use that money to lend to someone else making a lot of money in the process. Charging me for the privilege of lending them money would be taking the Michael.

    2. tfb Silver badge

      Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

      The problem with that is that unless you make fees mandatory, then any bank which starts charging will, the next month, discover that half its customers have walked, because people are much more interested in 'free' than they are in 'good'. And the party which has in its manifesto 'we will make banking fees of <x> mandatory' loses every election, I find.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

      A monthly fee of 5 to 8 quid would mean they could offer a better service and it would promote real competition.

      As someone who lives in a country where monthly fees are the norm, let me tell you that is categorically not the case. Nearly all banks charge the same monthly fee and they are all equally crap.

    4. Flywheel Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

      Nice try Mr Pester!

      I know you have to make up your bonus losses somehow, but just NO!

    5. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

      A monthly fee would make banking outright unaffordable for the majority of people.

      I know a lot of people who can only just about manage to put aside a fiver a month, most months.

      They are the smart ones who do that so they don't have to borrow from Wonga et al when the emergencies crop up.

      If they had to pay that just for a current account, they would be forced into payday loans, a debt spiral and certain doom.

      I lend my bank a lot of money every month. My entire salary in fact.

      If a bank can't make money by borrowing short and lending long, then it's simply not a bank, it's a safety deposit box.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

      "A monthly fee of 5 to 8 quid would mean they could offer a better service"

      Yes, in theory they could. But it would take a lot of months to get to that point if they actually tried to. But the most likely outcome would be 5 to 8 quid a month down the drain and no better services however long you waited.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: banks should charge fees like any other business

        well for those of you desparate to pay a monthly fee , try Hfax or Santyder

  10. Chronos Silver badge
    FAIL

    Someone at TSB doing the work of two men...

    Laurel and bloody Hardy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Someone at TSB doing the work of two men...

      That's another mess you've gotten me into

  11. Tom Paine Silver badge

    It's never been fixed

    Not a TSB customer but every few weeks I remember to search for it on Twitter, and there are still many people complaining about problems unresolved since the original fail back on May (or April, was it?)

    Directors responsible for signing this off really should all be disbarred by the PRA when the dust settles, from the CEO down.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: It's never been fixed

      Their mortgage business is currently totally broken.

      The online mortgage statements haven't worked since the "upgrade", and even now it takes so long to get a redemption statement that it's out of date by the time it arrives!

      Worse, their customer services told me that TSB are currently unable to sell mortgages at all.

      Which means they're a dead bank walking.

  12. macjules Silver badge

    TITSUP?

    Can be broken down easier than that:

    Totally Shite Bank

  13. Thomas Steven 1

    Is TSB a canary

    Are all the other banks equally awful, and the TSB is just the first to properly fall over?

    For all anyone knows, most banking systems are held together with gaffer tape and bailer twine. TSB has had issues doing upgrades, are they just the first to try to modernize their systems, and at some point all the banks are going to have similar issues.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is TSB a canary

      Having worked in finance, I can say that this is true.

      I would liken the underlying software systems of the banking industry to that old Honda advert, the one with the Rube Goldberg machine.

      Anon, because...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is TSB a canary

        When the banks first made use of computers, many decades ago, I'm sure that they put a lot of time and effort into building well-spec'ed, well-designed, and well-programmed systems (after all, they had to spend a lot of effort convincing understandably cautious directors that this would be a reliable and safe improvement on paper-based systems).

        The problem is that nowadays, those systems that have been running for decades, and, yes, more recently relying on some gaffer tape (and also gaffers and gaffesses many of whom have now retired or been "rightsized" (hah!)), now require either new gaffer tape or replacement, but, instead of cautious bank management, we now have people who think that any old cheap novice programmers from perhaps less reputable universities in offshored countries can do just as good a job as more experienced programmers (not to mention possible "lost in translation" linguistic misunderstandings, to boot).

        I'm not saying that other parts of the world can't produce good programmers, who, with adequate experience under their belt would be able to do a good job, but the good ones tend to move to better-paying jobs (often in other countries) once they have enough experience, and instead, the offshorers can mostly only offer "cheap, plentiful, but inexperienced". We have seen more than often enough what that combination can often result in.

        1. AndyMulhearn

          Re: Is TSB a canary

          The problem is that nowadays, those systems that have been running for decades, and, yes, more recently relying on some gaffer tape (and also gaffers and gaffesses many of whom have now retired or been "rightsized" (hah!))

          I was at a large insurer back In 2005 and they were seeing this back then. IIRC their pension system ran on a mainframe and two of the people that supported it had left under circumstances not of their choosing, note I don't mean rightsizing, while most of the rest were heading rapidly towards retirement on a well-stocked final salary scheme.

    2. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Is TSB a canary

      It appears everyone has forgotten the numerous issues at RBS (NatWest) who it seems TSB have mistakenly coppied their systems from.

      most Building societies have there backend run from one of them based in the North East

      Llloyds systems are far more stable, HSBC's tend to be pretty good, and I dont recall anything major around Barclays or HBOS

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your password is incorrect

    I tried to log in this morning just to check something quickly but the error message was wrong username/password. I knew the password was correct so this was pretty worrying. Had someone logged in and changed the password? Thankfully not as it turns out. I accept these systems may be down sometimes (or a lot in the case of TSB) but an error better than wrong password would have been better.

  15. ecofeco Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Abandon shit!

    No, that's no typo.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just think how much worse it would be if the taxpayer hadn't pumped more money into the banks & financial institutions over the last 10 years than they have into industry since 1945.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some banks are worse at tech then others. Looking at BofA. For the longest of time their MX records were not set right or was for a different domain so it looks spoofed. ISP like ATT would silent drop all of their emails. Then there is this gem. Last year they sent my mom and email. Saying that there has been a problem with her on line account and please follow this link to reset your password. My mom being properly trained on phishing deleted the email. Guess what. they changed her password and she need to click on the link to change it to some thing else. And no she could not just visit the site to reset her password . After 20 minutes on the phone they sent her a new link what cause her not only to reset her password but her security questions

    1. Chronos Silver badge
      Stop

      After 20 minutes on the phone they sent her a new link what cause her not only to reset her password but her security questions

      Do they still do that? They need to go away and write 200 lines "Most e-mail is transferred in the clear; e-mail is not secure."

      Any old munchkin could have intercepted that link and no, SMS isn't much better.

      1. AJ MacLeod
        Facepalm

        I was sorting out an account problem for a customer with BT the other day, using the only method that seems to work these days (the online chat.)

        The guy at the other end was actually very helpful and more importantly resolved the issue quite quickly - I was almost impressed for a minute, until the email arrived.

        They had sent a plain text (well, strictly speaking I expect it was HTML, but..) log of the entire conversation - including the account number, address, security question and answer to the security question!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not only are SMS and email in the clear

        I have had a few exciting conversations reminding people that they are neither real-time, nor assured delivery. This caused a gradual brain implosion in the non techies in the meeting as they could not believe it...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Apocalypse Gathers Steam

    The Post-COBOL Apocalypse takes a breath, gathers steam, and like a clanking juggernaut, heaves itself forward! LMAO at all the programmers who think Newer is Better, and don't yet realize that Newer means Untested and Undebugged.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: The Apocalypse Gathers Steam

      Nowadays world+programmer is expected to use "programming libraries" to glom something resembling a working program together without having any idea what happens in the back end.

      What the hey.... as long as it works and delivers correct input/output then all must be well even though said glommed program runs at glacial speed and need a whopping terabyte of RAM....

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The Apocalypse Gathers Steam

        "as long as it works and delivers correct input/output"

        But only when the input falls into the range defined in the spec. Always assuming there was a spec.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: The Apocalypse Gathers Steam

      The Post-COBOL Apocalypse takes a breath, gathers steam, and like a clanking juggernaut, heaves itself forward! LMAO at all the programmers who think Newer is Better, and don't yet realize that Newer means Untested and Undebugged.

      The joke's on you, TSB still has a COBOL back end after the migration (it's a customised version of Alnova running on Micro Focus COBOL/.Net/UNIX).

  19. Andrew 99

    outsourced?

    Is outsourcing the RCA?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    TSB demonstrates agile and flexible in the 'cloud'

    We have created a more digital, agile and flexible TSB,” stated Paul Pester, CEO of ... It is hosted on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.” ref

    Yer average agile computing solution in the cloud, a cobbled together smörgåsbord of web server, database, scripting engine, all stuck together with sealing-wax and chewing gum .. in the cloud ...

    1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

      Re: TSB demonstrates agile and flexible in the 'cloud'

      Most financial services companies have your comment written up as a strategic position however...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why does anyone still bank with them?

    It's been plenty of time since the last outage... which was equally poorly handled.

    So why haven't people moved the money elsewhere?

    Even with the complications of business bank accounts, I have managed to migrate away with relatively little hassle. Alot less hassle than dealing with another outage.

    Seriously people. Easy way to stop them - stop banking with them and they will cease to exist.

    Given the history, it's difficult to feel sorry for anyone who is still depending on them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why does anyone still bank with them?

      Why do poeple still bank with [insert bank here that screwed up in last x years]?

      All the banks are bad as each other. What happened with TSB will be a warning to the other banks who are thinking about updating their systems.

      An IT glitch is one thing, a bank being bailed out by the Government is another. They the ones that should have ceased to exist.

    2. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

      Re: Why does anyone still bank with them?

      I've just been reading the BBC News report on this latest fuckup.

      "So why haven't people moved the money elsewhere?" - Apparently they did. 26,00 accounts have been closed sine 'the big one' earlier this year.

      Unfortunately, 20,000 NEW accounts have been opened in the same time frame.

      *hangs head in despair*

  22. Securitymoose

    Why does anyone still bank with them?

    Why does anyone still bank with just one bank? And why am I still with TSB? Interest on my current account and 1% cashback on my credit card, that's why.

    My finances are non-critical, although the Council might gripe if their Tax is paid late (am I boddered?). I can see it would be a problem for people with mortgages etc, but the bank will have to pay compensation for any charges.

    Leave it with them, open an account with another bank, and therefore build in your own contingency to cover events like this, and give them time to realise they can't cut corners on IT staff and systems.

  23. julian_n

    Heads have rolled

    Finally. The Head of TSB has resigned

    1. cosymart
      Coat

      Re: Heads have rolled

      Beat me to it :-)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Heads have rolled

        Tough Sacrifice, Boss.

  24. toffer99

    We're sorry you couldn't get your money, customers. But our CEO got his as he left in disgrace -£1.7 million. Nice, eh?

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