TSB and HSBC latest to be hit by IT problems

TSB and HSBC latest to be hit by IT problems

The creaking IT infrastructure of the UK's major banks is in the spotlight once again as TSB's online banking services and HSBC's mobile apps crumble in the latest of a string of glitches across the sector.

HSBC has alerted customers to "intermittent issues" affecting mobile banking services in a social media post, while TSB's long-suffering customers are yet again finding themselves locked out of online and mobile banking after months of IT problems at the bank.

The latest glitches follow a series of outages which hit Barclays, RBS, Natwest and Ulster bank last week.

With neither TSB or HSBC providing a timeframe for fixes to the current spate of issues, software architecture firm Cast is calling for an urgent review into the resilience of UK bank systems, especially during heavy-use periods such as the the end of the month.

“Banks in other geographies don’t have as many problems as UK banks," says Lev Lesokhin, SVP strategy & snalytics at Cast. "Based on our research, UK-serving banks such as HSBC and TSB don’t do as good a job controlling the structural quality of their legacy systems. Software is a product of many software developers across geographies and vendors, particularly the case with international banks such as HSBC. Making sure their product is actually reliable is something that’s currently largely left to chance. This is why we’re in a situation where banking software fails us so regularly."

At a time when banks are closing more branches and bolting on new digital banking services to legacy architecture in a race to keep up with greenfield startups, the resilience of the sector to IT failures has become a major concern for regulators.

In July, the Bank of England and financial watchdog the FCA gave British financial firms a three-month deadline to demonstrate their operational resilience in the event of a cyber attack or IT breakdown. Penalties for those firms that fail to demonstrate adequate planning could result in a requirement for higher capital levels, sanctioning of executive leadership and a demand for more IT investment.

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 28 September, 2018, 13:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The challenge of Legacy technology.  Until institutions who raced to automate back in the 70's and 80's, finally decide the core of their platforms need to be REWRITTEN.  They need to accept they must start from  line 1 of the software they have nutured, maintained and enhanced.  Others who began develop of their systems in the 90's and this millenium built with the Internet and a connected world as a core assumption.  They are not restrained, as the early adoptors in western world were, by the limits of the then available technology. 

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 28 September, 2018, 18:49Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

While it's no consolation, outages are striking both traditional banks with legacy systems and newer FIs like Tesco Bank & Cashplus at regular frequency.


A Finextra member
A Finextra member 01 October, 2018, 08:44Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Interesting comment that it is UK banks that are failing their customers. HSBC is a global bank with mobile banking apps available throughout the world, TSB is part of the Sabadell group and the same applies. Are Cast trying to say these organisations manage to support a reliable platform everywhere else other than UK? If yes then it is worth digging deeper than blaming legacy systems. Is there something else in the broader UK infrastructure that all banks share which could be a contributory factor.