UK.gov demands urgent answers as TSB IT meltdown continues

'Failure of in-branch services have all the hallmarks of an IT meltdown,' says Nicky Morgan

power outage

The government is demanding urgent answers over a botched systems upgrade at TSB that has locked out up to 1.9 million customers.

The IT meltdown happened after a planned upgrade between 4pm on Friday 20 April and 6pm on Sunday 22 April as TSB migrated from former parent Lloyds Banking Group's systems to shiny new ones. TSB initially warned customers that online services may not be available during that window.

Since then, widespread reports of the non-availability of internet and mobile banking have persisted, as revealed by The Register. The outages continue today.

There were also reports that TSB customers could access the accounts of other TSB users, including their account numbers, sort codes and transaction histories, and possibly having the ability to perform actions on these accounts, including transferring money.

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to Paul Pester, chief exec of TSB, to find out what has gone wrong, the extent of the failure, and how TSB intends to compensate customers who have suffered a breach of potentially highly sensitive personal data.

She said the reports of unauthorised transactions, access to other customers' accounts, and failures of in-branch services "have all the hallmarks of an IT meltdown".

Morgan added: "This is yet another addition to the litany of failures of banking IT systems. Potentially millions of customers could be affected by uncertainty and disruption.

"It simply isn't good enough to expose customers to IT failures, including delays in paying bills and an inability to access their own money.

"Warm words and platitudes will not suffice. TSB customers deserve to know what has happened, when normal services will resume, and how they can expect to be compensated.

"I will be writing to the [Financial Conduct Authority] in due course for their assessment."

An ICO spokeswoman said: "We are aware of a potential data breach in relation to the TSB and are making enquiries."

A TSB spokesperson told us yesterday: "We are currently experiencing large volumes of customers accessing our mobile app and internet banking which is leading to some intermittent issues with people accessing our services."

Paul Pester, TSB's chief exec, issued this statement: "I've just resurfaced after 48 hours with my teams who have been working as hard and fast as they can to get our services back up and running. This isn't the level of service that we pride ourselves on providing, and isn't what our customers have come to expect from TSB, and for that I'm truly sorry.

"We're still seeing issues with access to our digital services. One of the steps we need to take to resolve this is to take our mobile app and online banking down for a few hours. We did this at around 10.30 this morning and we hope to be back up later this afternoon. We'll let [our] customers know as soon as it's available again.

"Of course, customers can rest assured that no one will be left out of pocket as a result of these service issues." ®

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