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Half of TSB's online users stranded week after software snag

(Bloomberg) -- Banco De Sabadell SA’s U.K. subsidiary TSB Banking Group said half of its online users were unable to access their accounts Sunday, a week after the firm’s attempt to shift 5 million customers to a new banking platform proved disastrous.

“Internet banking is currently operating at around 50 percent of capacity,” a bank spokeswomen said. "For every 10 customers who try to access our internet banking, five will be able to access this service.”

An effort by the bank to upgrade systems for its 1.9 million active online and mobile customers failed a week ago, leaving hundreds of thousands unable to access their accounts. TSB tried to switch 5 million customers and 1.3 billion records to software run by its Spain-based parent Banco De Sabadell from a system operated by Lloyds Banking Group Plc, which sold TSB three years ago. The firm said that mobile banking was now operating at over 90 percent of capacity.

Sabadell fell 6.6 percent last week as the bank struggled to resolve the access issues. The shares are down 8 percent in the past year.

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A pedestrian uses a smartphone as she walks past the entrance to a TSB bank branch, operated by TSB Banking Group Plc, in London, U.K., on Friday, March 13, 2015. Banco de Sabadell SA made a surprise push into British consumer banking with a 1.7 billion-pound ($2.5 billion) approach for TSB Banking Group, 50 percent owned by Lloyds Banking Group Plc, that sent the Spanish lender's shares down by the most in 14 years. Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

The system collapse could result in TSB paying millions in fines and compensation. TSB will consider claims from non-TSB customers who suffered losses, Chief Executive Officer Paul Pester told the Sunday Times.

TSB said in a statement it will waive overdraft fees and interest charges in April for its retail and small business customers, as well as increasing the interest rate on its Classic Plus account to 5 percent from 3 percent.

“No one will be left out of pocket as a result of these problems,” Pester said in a statement. ”Our teams continue to work around the clock to fix the problems that some of our customers are having in accessing their TSB accounts.”