It will become a case study in how not to give evidence to a select committee of the House of Commons. Trying to be funny in front of MPs when thousands of their constituents are having difficulties accessing their bank accounts was not going to win Mr. Pester any friends. And it didn’t.
In a withering putdown at the end of the session, attended by Mr. Paul Pester, Richard Medding, Chairman of TSB and Miquel Montes, Chief Operating Officer, Sabadell, the Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee said:
“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.”
Interestingly, that’s the same conclusion lots of our members have come to since the crisis began. Mr. Pester was also in denial about how the IT problems are going to affect the Bank’s ability to retain its existing customers, let alone attract new customers. The hard work of TSB staff in attracting new customers to the Bank over the last 4-years is being lost every time Mr. Pester opens his mouth. He needs to resist the temptation to say any more before it’s too late.
When Will It Be Fixed?
Like everyone else what staff want to know is when this crisis is going to end and the IT problems fixed because for many of them another week of 12-hour shifts, computer breakdowns, long queues down the street leading to frustrated customers is not something they can endure for much longer. Stress and anxiety levels in the branches, contact and processing centres are through the roof, with members saying they dread going into work knowing the systems are not working and they are going to be blamed by customers. Lots of branch customers have been sympathetic to staff but that’s going to wear off quickly if the systems are not fixed. Even Mr. Pester and Mrs. Lock, HR Director, must realise the current state of affairs can’t continue much longer.
It was abundantly clear from Mr. Pester’s evidence that almost two weeks since the meltdown began, he has no idea what the problem is, never mind how to fix it. The IBM cavalry have been in TSB for a week and Proteo4UK is still not working. The Bank keeps insisting, astonishingly, that the “engine is working properly” but to everyone else it’s self-evident that TSB’s IT system is not working. Furthermore, when asked directly, Mr. Pester and Mr. Medding refused to say when the Bank’s problems would be fixed; that’s not surprising because there are reports that it could take months. There is simply no way on earth that staff can cope with the current situation for weeks, let alone months.
You Must Be Joking
Mr. Pester has said that he won’t be taking his £2 million Sabadell Integration Awards. Given that he was not going to get the bonus anyway, his offer to give it up seems hollow. The Union has written to Dame Sandra Dawson, Chair of the TSB Remuneration Committee saying:
“The cost of this disaster, including the November delay, could be c. £150 million when you take into account compensation payments to customers, cancelling overdraft fees, increasing interest rates, fines from the Regulators, increased IT costs, the haemorrhaging of personal current account customers and lost future business. This is money which TSB is never going to be able to recover. At the Treasury Select Committee hearing yesterday Mr. Pester said he would not take any bonus for completing the migration of customers. That is not good enough. Given the current shambles, neither Mr. Pester nor any member of the Bank’s Executive Committee (BEC), should get any performance bonuses whatsoever for 2018. Furthermore, Sabadell Integration Awards granted in previous years to Mr. Pester and other members of the BEC should also be recovered. If the Remuneration Committee pay any performance bonuses to any member of the BEC then, as a shareholder, the Union will take legal action and your justifications for making such awards in the face of this botched IT migration will be subject to the scrutiny of the Court”.
Pay The Bonuses To Staff
The bonus payments that would have been paid to members of the BEC and the past integration awards that can be retrieved should be put into a fund and used to give all TSB members of staff, in branch and non -branch operations, a £1,000 bonus each.