back to article Tedious Service Bulletin: No prizes for guessing which UK bank's services are DOWN for business users

Totally Shocked Businesses have faced a morning without access to their online accounts following yet another IT meltdown at embattled TSB. Money down the drain Terribly Sorry Bank reports 165% drop in profits to a pre-tax loss of £105.4m READ MORE It follows a terrible 2018 for the bank that started in April with a week- …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Twitter-handlers suggested users head into a local branch"

    What's a local branch?

    1. m0rt Silver badge

      Well, do you remember post offices? They were something like that....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Calling Watson!

    This is a clear job for IBM's much hyped AI. Not fixing the mess, because the evidence is that IT ineptitude is baked into the core of TSB and its parent (and AI has yet to solve anything useful), but making the excuses.

    Get Watson primed and running, and as soon as the next TSB IT screwup occurs, Watson will instantly produce a compelling sounding, complicated excuse about what the problem is, how it isn't really TSB's fault, but they're working hard to fix it. Maybe Watson could even be promoted to fielding customer communications on Twitter and Zuckbook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Calling Watson!

      "the evidence is that IT ineptitude is baked into the core of TSB and its parent"

      Why would IBM want to fix this? It's often a key skill required to remain an IBM customer...well that and deep pockets. Deep pockets that aren't empty.

      Maybe Watson's next upgrade should be longer arms?

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Calling Watson!

        If it continues to lose £105m per year, then eventually those pockets will become empty.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Calling Watson!

      Too late for Facebook - Clegg has the job,

      I did think of sending him a book by Daniel Pennac - in which the hero is appointed to the job of official scapegoat and gets shouted at and fired every time there's a foul up - but it occurred to me that he wouldn't have time to read it owing to having to spend so much time counting his money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Calling Watson!

        Too late for Facebook - Clegg has the job,

        Well done, sir! There's a theme that could reunite our divided land. The universal hatred of Tw*t-in-chief Clegg, and his flexible integrity.

        I know, I know: May, Clegg, Abbott, Smeagol Gove, etc etc. But even so, Clegg and his estwhile party, they're all worse vermin.

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Calling Watson!

        I'd send them a copy of The Mythical Man-Month ... OK, I know the issue is web development here, not a new OS but essentially the problem is the same ... putting a new system in to replace the old one that worked fine without really understanding how the old system worked.

    3. mr-slappy

      Re: Calling Watson!

      You forgot "the security and privacy of our customers' data is our utmost concern" and "your call is very important to us" and "we are currently experiencing unprecedented call volumes" and and and...

  3. 0laf Silver badge
    Trollface

    Do we have any pictures of the Spanish parent company IT team cheering the 'sucessful' roll out just like the last time?

  4. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    the advice was for users to try “clearing cookies and cached data”

    And then turn it of and on again ?

    How about tapping their monitors too ?

    1. SVV Silver badge

      Re: the advice was for users to try “clearing cookies and cached data”

      Don't be daft, it's the guy tapping on his monitor that's breaking it.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: the advice was for users to try “clearing cookies and cached data”

        cf icon

  5. Duffaboy
    FAIL

    “working hard to fix this”

    i.e we have no %$^&ing idea whats gone wrong

  6. chronicdashedgehog

    I logged into my personal account earlier. The login page froze so I looked in the console. SignalR was trying to connect to a hub on 127.0.0.1.

    Can they provide the server code so I can run it in Visual Studio?

    Sounds like some dev config may have strayed into prod ;-)

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      > I logged into my personal account earlier. The login page froze so I looked in the console. SignalR was trying to connect to a hub on 127.0.0.1.

      Take care you aren't accused of being a hacker. It's subversives like you with your knowledge of how to use a console and the basics of IP addressing that need to be watched you know.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do they still have customers?

    Puzzled why anyone still banks with them... I used to, for both business and personal, and I don't do either now.

    Multiple failures over a extended period.... Yes moving a business account can be a pain, especially if it's a larger business... But come on... It's the reason most organisations exist... The money!

    So why do people still bank with them? Why aren't they bleading customers? Why aren't they on the edge of failure?

    TSB are awful .... But anyone who still maintains an account with them despite plentiful alternatives... Pfffft, words fail me.

    1. chronicdashedgehog

      Re: Why do they still have customers?

      They rely on people being as lazy as me. It's not my main account. If it was I'd have cleared off by now

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why do they still have customers?

        It adds a bit of spice to savings, that's the only reason I still have a current account with TSB: I loan them £1500 a month, they pay me 5% interest, and every so often there's the risk that I might not be able to access it easily for a few days...

        I wonder whether if enough people complain this time, they might increase the interest rate to 7.5%?

        (But, no, you probably shouldn't be using them as your main current account any more.)

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Why do they still have customers?

      The whole thing was set up to fail.

      Lloyds were obliged to shed a bunch of customers because of government ownership. They could simply have offered incentives (paid for by the receiving banks) to customers to switch their accounts to existing providers. They could even have created a fintech-style business, drummed up support amongst their existing customer base and then sold that.

      Instead, they offered a chunk of their current business "as is" along with outstanding loans and mortgages, setting up a clone of their current banking IT to host it and then offered it for sale on the basis that the buyer would then have to migrate all the IT to their own systems.

      It was never going to work...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Why do they still have customers?

        "Lloyds were obliged to shed a bunch of customers because of government ownership. They could simply have offered incentives"

        They actually used an alternative - being so bad some of us went elsewhere of our own volition.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why do they still have customers?

      "But anyone who still maintains an account with them despite plentiful alternatives"

      It was the behaviour of the former TSB that led to me abandoning Lloyds but as to the "plentiful alternates" they're only plentiful in terms of approximately matching awfulness. Awfulness includes all of them closing branches where I'd prefer to bank. Do actual branches matter? Yes, especially when you get online banking falling over and then telling customers to go to the local branch which doesn't exist for any acceptable value of local.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why do they still have customers?

        "but as to the "plentiful alternates" they're only plentiful in terms of approximately matching awfulness"

        Very true. They are not the first bank I've had to abandon. But I don't think any of them have been quite as unreliable in terms of basic ability to do business - at least recently - they have a special talent here.

    4. druck Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Why do they still have customers?

      Well no matter how many IT failures, they have never failed to take my mortgage payment on time.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Lloyds were obliged to shed a bunch of customers because of government ownership. They could simply have offered incentives (paid for by the receiving banks) to customers to switch their accounts to existing providers"

    To be fair, they've kind of done that... but arguably no-one really cares.

    But no, it was customers and branches that were required to be sold off in some way. There was no real easy way of doing it, as it was primarily meant to be set up as a challenger bank on its own merits (so required its own IT systems - carving out a segment of the overall Lloyds system was clearly the most risk-free way of doing that, as demonstrated by the other approach taken last summer!).

    Really the problem was that there was 1 fewer banks on the high street, so they needed to reintroduce one. Ideally, it would have floated and existed on its own.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "it was primarily meant to be set up as a challenger bank on its own merits"

      Management misread that as "challenged".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's certainly challenging.

  9. Lee D Silver badge

    Honestly, if clearing cookies and cached data are necessary, you have a really rubbish website and server infrastructure.

    That's why pages have a modified date / hash, which browsers and other caches query to see if it has changed even if they don't actually download the full file.

    And cookies at worst should give you a stale session that sends you to a login page to create a new one.

    That's really the "just turn it off and on again" rubbish answer that poor IT support give out when they have no idea but want to sound like it could be your fault.

    Honestly, I have had thousand of customers using several different websites that I provide as part of my employer's business, used day in day out for everything, that all get updated on a regular basis and accessed from every kind of device you can think of, and not once has my answer ever involved clearing cookies or caches. Not once have *I* ever cleared a cache or cookies (any more than F5 would - and nowadays it basically does nothing more than trying to access the site again!). Not once has it ever solved a problem.

    If I were allowed, such phrases would result in termination of technical support payments, along with rebooting (I'll accept a shutdown in order to change hardware, obviously, but just a plain restart/reboot shouldn't ever be required).

    Now, if they asked "Are you using IE? Then please stop." I'd give *them* money.

  10. Walter Bishop Silver badge
  11. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Totally Suitable Banking eh?

    Well I never. Just when you thought they're out of the woods, they're back in the news with another meltdown.

    Maybe the time has come to put it out of its misery?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe the time has come to put it out of its misery?

      That point only arrives when sufficient customers vote with their feet. Evidently too few have, so those who remain are happy with the service. At least we can sleep easy ignoring their squeals when the next Totally Shite Bank problem crops up.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Maybe the time has come to put it out of its misery?

      Come on, this problem has been going on for less than two years now and I'm sure they'll have it all fixed by the end of March - it's not a bit deal, everyone will be fine.

      That's the standard response to problems these days.

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I was going to ask...

    How it was they were still in business, but on second thoughts it doesn't really look as if they are - just pretending to be.

  13. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Boffin

    Not TSB

    I am leaving my bank, they used to be good. No, no TITSUP, just ... they have become un-contactable, they no longer reply to emails, they do not answer the phone, the only way is to head to the branch ... what is the bloody point.

    Worse, when I opened my main account at the branch, I was offered an account at a "partner bank", they work so closely, I was told, they are one ... they did ask for 90 euros payment towards some fund that you get refunded should you leave, because it is some cooperative bank, all customers own at least a tiny share of the bank ... anyway, I have not received answers to my emails for 3 months, nor do they answer calls ... so I decide to close my accounts, obviously had to book an appointment at the branch for that as my email requesting the closures had not been read.

    At the meeting, I say I want to close all my accounts, hand over my payment cards etc, request the monies to be put into another account, she asks which account, I say "in the email I sent you in December, maybe ?" She searches for quite a few minutes, finds the email and goes on mumbling why she had not complied.

    I ask for the 90 euros back ... to which the clerk said: "Well, you can either give it to [redacted] (as in, do not ask for a refund) or you will have to contact [redacted] for that and I do not have their address, you can look it up on the internet."

    For years, absolutely no problems at all, now, this ... well, at least their migration last year went well, even though all the account history vanished, my identifiers changed, and I could access my account without the card reader (bad) ... anyway ... another bank will be another load of crap ... if only I could live without these suckers, all they ever do is cost you for sod all service ...

    PS: I transferred most of my funds to another bank last year because they offered better options, which may explain the shit above.

  14. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Coat

    Soon

    The only customers they will have left will be Vodaphone or Talk Talk users, who are used to paying for a crap service

  15. David Hall 1

    I met their lovely new CEO on a flight whilst this was happening

    I was very impressed by her tbh. I'm not sure if she as impressed by me - but if she hadn't read if before she is now aware of 'Tits up bank' from el reg and she was gracious in my recounting the tale to her !

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wednesday. Buggered again.

    Well, well.

    2 days later and it's down again.

    I have been advised to "clear my cookies".

    That could well be a euphemism that I am unaware of for an action that is unpleasant.

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