back to article Congrats to Debbie Crosbie: New CEO at IT meltdown bank TSB has unenviable task ahead

TSB has named Debbie Crosbie as the chief exec to clear up its tech mess and persuade customers they can still trust the meltdown bank. Crosbie has spent two decades at CYBG – owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks – and is currently chief operating officer for those two organisations. man angry while looking at his mobile …

  1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Flame

    Have

    threatened more regulation.....

    So that means when the banks systems go TITSUP , they'll be called into the office and told they were very naughty and not to do it again instead of the current system of doing fuck all

    1. Halfmad

      Re: Have

      TSB have a free pass for a while though, just blame the previous idiot in charge until the problems are past then celebrate how great the new CEO is..

      1. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

        Re: Have

        Well Dido Harding's utter ignorance has been a lesson to us all, lets see if Debbie Crosbie can give us any further lessons on how not to run a company.

        1. The Nazz Silver badge

          Re: Have

          re Flaming Death

          A little unfair, at least. AFAIK the Yorkshire Bank side of CYBG has been very well run, even with DC having two decades of experience there, latterly COO.

          I won't comment further on DH.

          Edit : If memory serves me accurately, at all, the local Yorkshire Bank is open till 4pm on Saturdays.

  2. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

    Here's a suggestion...

    Keep local branches open and have site-specific databases for all customers within 25 miles which communicate with the Head Office DB but can run in local-only mode when the link goes down.

    This would have the benefits of customers being able to get their money when the comms go down again, and would increase local employment because they would need to re-employ all those counter staff they have laid off recently.

    1. NiceCuppaTea

      Re: Here's a suggestion...

      That would be grand.... i could blow up the local telephone exchange then withdraw all my money as cash from the now isolated bank then have a quick scoot 25 miles down the road and withdraw it again before the comms come back up. Now if only i had a million quid i could withdraw in cash....

      1. goldcd

        Funny you should say that...

        I had a summer job in the late 90s, just after the two banks had merged.

        Whilst 'officially merged' they hadn't actually joined up their IT at this point. So you could happily stroll into my TSB branch and ask to withdraw many thousands from your Lloyds account (I forget the amount, but might have been 5k, when we would ask them to hold on whilst we phoned to check they actually had the money).

        You could then happily spend your day visiting other branches and doing the same - with only the over-night clearing possibly picking up on it..(within a few working days)

      2. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: Here's a suggestion...

        And a huge wheelbarrow. Or dumpster.

        Don't try this at home : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV2cDXBrzr8

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Here's a suggestion...

      benefits of customers

      No, that's outdated thinking, sadly. Banks are not run to benefit customers, as many have found out.

  3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Mushroom

    There is a very good reason

    for all these bank cockups.

    Almost all of these banks have built up a plethora of bespoke applications/scripts over the years to perform tasks that no off-the-shelf products could do.

    These applications and scripts were developed and supported by in-house technical expertise.

    Then the bean-counters came along and thought that off-shoring all those technical jobs would be so much cheaper and give the bank more profits.

    So, now they are in the situation where aging scripts and apps are failing to meet the changes that inevitably happen and they no longer have the expertise to make changes without screwing things up.

    You might ask me how I know this, but I couldn't possibly comment.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: There is a very good reason

      In order to rid themselves of all these custom applications and scripts all the banks (large, small and challenger) are adopting a cloud strategy running off the shelf packages in both private and public cloud.

      The same public clouds.

      Out of the frying pan into the boiling flammable cloud ready for the slightest spark to ignite it!

    2. Vanir

      Re: There is a very good reason

      "Then the bean-counters came along and thought that off-shoring all those technical jobs would be so much cheaper and give the bank more profits."

      And what do the bean-counters use? Excel of course, with all their bespoke VBA scripts written by their interns!

  4. andy 103
    Flame

    In it for the money

    It doesn't matter who they appoint, they all have the same plan: Take a position - usually on an incredibly high salary - and try and stay as long as possible. When the going gets tough, leave, having amassed a small fortune.

    If the people who were in charge of these things were given a basic salary and given a bonus if - and only if - they avoided or sorted out cock ups, you'd probably find nobody willing to do it!

    They're all in it for the money and essentially if it all goes tits up their attitude is - meh, I'll be on an island in the sun whilst someone else repeats the process.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: In it for the money

      Then they would engineer the company around meeting those KPIs.

      Lose money if any updates fail? Then no updates. No new products, no new features, no new customers.

      1. andy 103

        Re: In it for the money

        Lose money if any updates fail? Then no updates. No new products, no new features, no new customers.

        Yeah, I guess that's true. But there is still a fundamental problem, which is being repeated time and time again, where people take positions with no intention of staying to sort out problems. The salaries that go with these positions (plus any other bonuses/options) usually mean nobody would have to stay longer than a few years to walk away with a very healthy amount of money. That is a huge issue which needs addressing but there is no simple solution to it.

        1. Ozumo

          Re: In it for the money

          There's a paradox here - how do you stay to sort out problems if you're expected to fall on your sword when the problem occurs? Our knee-jerk blame cukture has to bear some blame too.

        2. Ozumo

          Re: In it for the money

          There's a paradox here - how can we expect an executive to stay on to sort out a problem if we also expect him to fall on his sword as soon as the problem occurs?

        3. CustardGannet

          Re: In it for the money

          "...a huge issue which needs addressing but there is no simple solution to it."

          Tumbrils.

          That's my simple solution.

        4. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

          Re: In it for the money

          The best leader anyone can hope for is a reluctant one.

          Hence why we end up with such shitty slimey leadership time after time

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: In it for the money

      If the people who were in charge of these things were given a basic salary and given a bonus if - and only if - they avoided or sorted out cock ups, you'd probably find nobody willing to do it!

      Quite.

      They're all in it for the money and essentially if it all goes tits up their attitude is - meh, I'll be on an island in the sun whilst someone else repeats the process.

      Same as 99.8% of El Reg's readership, then, I'd have thought. If you're not doing it for the money, why don't you go in and work on your days off?

  5. OzBob

    Don't worry, DevOps will sort it out

    being the panacea-de-jour and all.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Don't worry, DevOps will sort it out

      Yeah get DevOps going on that bank code, then it can break every night automatically.

    2. Ommerson

      Re: Don't worry, DevOps will sort it out

      At least it will be modern DevOps skills that are readily available on the job market.

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Just shut it down.

    It's dead, Jim.

    1. Milo Tsukroff

      Shut her down, Clancy, she's pumping mud!

      FTFY

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I've heard so much about the team"

    Is that management speak for "Dear Team, HR will be delivering your P45s shortly" ?

    1. Chrissy

      Re: "I've heard so much about the team"

      Debbie: "I've heard so much about the team"...

      the unwritten rest of the spiel: "and am stunned that we still employ a costly onshore team, so I am starting crash program to off-shore this to both generate an immediate bonus for myself AND to create a firebreak so that I can conveniently blame any future failures on our "Service Partners", thus insulating myself from future censure....... now where's my effin bonus???"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "I've heard so much about the team"

        Well CYBG have a mix of Onshore suport and Offshore devs.

        Admittedly the onshore support is very thin ( probably 2 people who really know how the mainframe jobs run ) and a reluctance to run proper DR testing in case they get in the papers just like TSB....

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the PR team's irony filters"

    The what?

    An irony filter would get in the way of PR's ability [sic] to do its job [also sic].

  9. Efer Brick

    "Working Street" ?

    <SPOING> - there goes my irony meter

  10. Robert D Bank

    tough call

    So, she has to save at least £360m to get back to square one pre-crisis. In fact probably more due to lost customers. And they've barely sorted out the move from one bespoke system to another. Local team probably really pissed off and now expected to 'perform' even better while dealing with offshore teams that don't really give a shit.

    I'd be giving that chalice a fecking good scrub if I was her...and be expecting the money up front.

  11. FlamingDeath Bronze badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    She sounds like

    a fucking sociopath, she'll fit right in

    Where do they keep finding these cretins?

  12. Ommerson

    Think I know what I'd rather have....

    Modern banking platform, running a micro-service architecture on a private cloud on commodity hardware, likely in others' high availability data centre in an active-active configuration, and employing industry standard middle-ware that its easy to hire staff to operate OR

    The traditional mode o banking IT of shelling out every 10 years for the next generation of IBM mainframe because it can run running creaking code, quite possibly dating from the 60's, and in COBOL; staffing this operation is a significant risk in its own right and change takes literally years (Ask RBS about this).

    I reckon TSB is in a much better place long-term than the other major banking groups who are working out who how on earth they're getting off their legacy systems. The appetite for a radical re-platforming is much reduced.

    Much talk of building their own challenger banks from scratch (or most likely, with more expensive IBM middleware) and migrating customers slowly. Several of these start-up incubators are in the Old Street area in London - strangely enough just down the road from Monzo :)

    I understand that when Lloyds and TSB merged, they merged onto TSB's IT platform. Which Lloyds is now left with ;)

    1. batfink

      Re: Think I know what I'd rather have....

      Yes the underlying stuff will be running on a private cloud on commodity hardware, but running on top of that will be a pile of steaming latest/greatest in-house apps & microservices developed in the latest/greatest Agile & DevOps fashion.

      This will be great for a couple of years, until the original devs leave. Then it's going to be exactly the same problems, with nobody now having a clue how (or if) all of these things interface - again. Only now it will originally have been implemented in a more efficient fashion.

      1. Robert D Bank

        Re: Think I know what I'd rather have....

        there is no legacy in the ephemeral, desired so much by the fickle.

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