TSB has admitted it's been deluged with 40,000 complaints from customers over the IT meltdown which has gripped it for more than a week - and only half of them have even been acknowledged so far.
The bank's chief executive Paul Pester and other senior figures were grilled today by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee. He gave more details of the chaos which has seen many of the TSB's 1.9 million online banking and mobile app customers struggle to log in or make payments - but was unable to give a date by which all the issues would be fixed.
Mr Pester urged customers to contact the bank with any problems, but admitted only 22,290 complaints have so far been acknowledged and said the bank is recruiting more teams to deal with the complaints.
He insisted the "underlying engine" of the bank is running smoothly and said that customers are currently able to log on to the website and app 95% of the time - despite two members of committee staff trying and failing to log in during the session.
TSB's online banking and mobile app have been offline or disrupted since Friday 20 April, and as of 4pm Wednesday afternoon some customers were still reporting difficulty accessing their accounts, problems with standing orders and incorrect account balances.
Affected by TSB's problems? See full help and how to claim compensation in our dedicated TSB online banking problems guide.
What did the TSB bosses say?
Mr Pester appeared before the cross-party group of MPs this afternoon alongside TSB chairman Richard Meddings and Miquel Montes, the chief operating officer of TSB's parent company, Sabadell Group.
Here are the key points:
- We still don't know how many customers have been affected - but the bank's had 40,000 complaints. Mr Pester said of the bank's 5.2 million customers, 1.9 million use its digital services - but he was unable to put a figure on the total number directly affected.
When asked about complaints, he said: "Of the 40,000 complaints we have received, we have acknowledged 22,290 and we are in the process of acknowledging all the complaints received. We are recruiting more teams to deal with the volume of complaints."
- TSB's reiterated that customers won't be left "out of pocket" - but you'll need to complain. Mr Pester said he could give a "cast iron guarantee" that customers would not be left out of pocket as a result of the problems.
Mr Pester said the bank is working on how it will pay compensation and in some cases customers may automatically be compensated, but urged customers to contact it. He said: "Please let us know - if you let us know we can start dealing with your complaint."
Mr Pester said the best way to complain is via this form rather than calling. He said consequential loss - ie, where you're claiming for expenses you've had as a result of not being able to access or use your TSB account - will usually be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
- The bank STILL can't say when the problems will be fixed. Mr Pester, Mr Meddings and Mr Montes all refused to give any date for when the problems will be fixed despite repeated questioning, and claimed it would be "misleading" to customers to do so.
- TSB admitted it's still struggling to deal with the volume of calls it's getting. Mr Pester acknowledged some customers calling its customer service line are still facing a 30-minute wait, which he said was unacceptable.
'The buck stops with me'
Mr Pester insisted that the migration of TSB's systems had itself gone smoothly but said an independent review will investigate what went wrong after the migration.
And he again apologised to customers, saying: "The buck stops with me. Let me be crystal clear - I take absolute responsibility for what has happened."
When asked how much the compensation is likely to cost the bank, Mr Pester said: “We are so focused on fixing this for customers and delivering the service that TSB is renowned for that we have not calculated this.”
He said initial estimates suggest the waiving of interest will cost £10 million, but he does not know the overall likely cost.
He did, however, say paid-for account fees which came out of customers' accounts today would not be waived.
What did MPs have to say?
The MPs grilled the TSB and Sabadell bosses for more than 90 minutes, and highlighted various cases from their constituents who had been badly affected by the problems.
They questioned how the TSB systems migration had been tested, how it will be reviewed and who will be held to account for the problems.
Chair Nicky Morgan told Pester: "What we are hearing this afternoon is the most staggering example of a chief executive who seems unwilling to realise the scale of the problem that is being faced."
She asked that the independent review is shared with the committee, along with details of the compensation scheme and how much TSB expects to pay.
She finished the session saying: "Please don't underestimate the scale and concern with which customers - not just TSB but bank customers generally - are watching this and are now worrying that it could happen to them and that is an unacceptable situation to have in banking in the 21st century."