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CEO rebuked over IT crash

TSB chief admits fraudsters stole from customers


TSB: ‘over-optimistic’ over IT repairs (pic by Terry Murden)


TSB chief executive Paul Pester admitted life savings have been stolen from TSB accounts by fraudsters “exploiting” the bank’s IT problems.

Some customers were waiting on the phone for up to nine hours to report cases, he told MPs.

In a humiliating grilling over the bank’s IT failures, he said that 70 times the normal level of fraud attacks were seen last month.

The system failure left 1.9 million customers locked out of their accounts and continues to be a problem.

The bank has said it would compensate customers in full for any fraud they suffered. However, some customers are still facing problems with services after all five million of it customers were moved to a system run by Sabadell six weeks ago. Overall, there have been 93,700 complaints.

Many services have improved, but the situation remains unstable, with 40% of those trying to call the bank unable to speak to someone, while waiting times have run to more than 30 minutes.

His evidence came after the City regulator attacked him over the bank’s IT meltdown.

Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Conduct Authority accused Mr Pester of “portraying an optimistic view” of services after the botched switchover to a new system.

In a letter to the Commons Treasury Committee Mr Bailey said: “The FCA has been dissatisfied with TSB’s communications with its customers and we have had concerns that TSB was not being open and transparent about the issues experienced.”

He said the current communications were perceived as poor, and could reduce trust in TSB and in the banking sector as a whole.

Mr Pester was making a second appearance in front of the committee and Mr Bailey said he could have been more forthcoming about the bank’s problems when he was questioned on 2 May.

In his letter he noted Mr Pester’s claim that “the vast majority” of TSBs customers were able to access their online accounts at a time when in fact there was a successful first-time login rate of only 50%.

The FCA has the power to fine TSB over the incident and said it was investigating the crisis jointly with the Prudential Regulation Authority.

The TSB said: “We will be updating the Treasury select committee and will continue to fully support its inquiry.

“In the meantime, we continue to focus on doing whatever it takes to put things right for our customers, and ensuring that no customer will be left out of pocket as a result of the recent IT issues.”

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