Facing a second grilling by the Treasure Committee this week, TSB boss Paul Pester admitted that fraudsters had “exploited” its computer migration problems at the end of April to target its customers.
He confessed that while the bank’s fraud team normally receive 10 fraud attacks a day, since its computer meltdown, which saw customers unable to make transactions or access their accounts, the number had risen by 70 times and that its fraud line had been “overwhelmed”.
Dr Pester said: “I am deeply sorry to say that I think the issues we created as a consequence of migration were an opportunity that was exploited by criminals to target TSB customers.
“It’s a very sad fact that whenever banks go through changes, fraudsters tend to target customers but particularly they were very aggressive about a week after migration.”
He added: “We didn’t anticipate this volume of fraud attacks – it’s an unprecedented attack on UK banking by organised crime.”
Nicky Morgan MP, chair of the Treasury Committee, questioned Dr Pester over the length of time customers were left hanging on the phone to report a scam to TSB’s fraud line – some customers are reported to have had to wait up to nine hours to get through over the past few weeks.
Dr Pester said that this had now been resolved, saying that since a new dedicated fraud line had been launched, “it’s a matter of minutes for customers to get through”.
The Parliamentary session came a day after the financial regulator confirmed that it had launched an investigation into TSB and said that Dr Pester had been “optimistic” about how quickly services would be reviewed after the meltdown.
Overall, there have been around 95,000 complaints from customers, with 24,000 people compensated so far – though Dr Pester couldn’t say how many of those who had been compensated were happy with the sum they had received or what the average pay-out was.
While around 12,500 customers have requested to leave TSB since the outage, 370 customers who wanted to switch banks faced a software glitch, which led to their regular payments being cancelled because the bank had told companies they had died.