Tuesday 19 November 2019 10:06 am

TSB IT meltdown: Former and current bosses criticise damning probe into online outages

Past and present TSB bosses have criticised parts of a damning independent probe into the bank’s catastrophic IT meltdown last year.

City law firm Slaughter and May has concluded that TSB’s board lacked “common sense” in the run-up to an IT outage which left 2m TSB customers without access to online banking.

Both TSB and IT provider Sabis were blamed for the outage by Slaughter and May, which said that a new system which its customers were moved on to had not been properly tested before going live.

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However, the findings have been met with mixed reaction from former and current executives of the bank, with ex-chief executive Paul Pester hitting out at Slaughter and May’s “scattergun approach”.

Pester, who lost his job over the IT fiasco last year, said that the report was “a complex and confused read which casts very little light on lessons the industry could learn to stop something like this happening again.”

TSB’s executive chairman Richard Meddings, who apologised this morning for the outage, said that some of Slaughter and May’s conclusions “do not paint a full picture” or “arrive at the same conclusion as other reports”.

The 250-page report found that the IT meltdown was in large part caused by elements of two data being centres built to support a new platform were, in certain aspects, configured inconsistently.

Slaughter and May concluded that the firm’s head of IT, Carlos Abarca, made an “ill-judged” assessment of TSB’s preparedness ahead of its systems launch.

Sabis, the IT services arm of TSB’s Spanish owner Sabadell, “was not ready to operate the new platform”, the group also said.

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“The key cause was that elements of two data centres built to support the platform were built inconsistently,” said Meddings.

Pester also hit out at Sabis, saying: “The report states that Sabis cut corners with critical testing of TSB’s new system before it went live.

“If these findings are right, Sabis rolled the dice by running tests on only one of TSB’s two new data centres and this decision was kept from me and the rest of the TSB board.”

More to follow.