Paul Pester, who was paid £1.8 million last year, admitted the TSB’s computer systems could not cope with the demand from customers looking to log on online
The boss of TSB faced ridicule last night after resorting to jargon to explain his bank’s IT meltdown and claiming everything was running smoothly for most customers.
Paul Pester, who was paid £1.8million last year, said 1.9million customers could not access their online bank accounts because his computers were not powerful enough to cope with the numbers logging on.
The 54-year-old insisted that there had not been a data breach even though customers were able to access other people’s bank accounts. And he was unable to say when the system will be up and running again.
Mr Pester could be stripped of his annual bonus over the fiasco. Last year he was handed pay-outs worth £433,858 but said he has not decided whether to voluntarily give up any money due in 2018.
The chief executive took to TV studios and Twitter to apologise to his customers. In an interview with Sky News, he said: ‘For the vast majority of our customers in the vast majority of ways, the bank is running smoothly.
‘I’m not trying to downplay some of the issues we’ve had on our digital channels, but it’s very specific.
‘Our website and our app have been unable to cope with the large numbers of concerned users that we’ve seen. This is about having enough bandwidth in our platform to cope with the number of users. We’ve not had a data breach.’
But customers on Twitter accused the bank of failing to act quickly enough. Michelle Ayres wrote: ‘This is not good enough. Need to make some payments and not been able to do this since Friday.
‘Not good enough and you will be losing a customer plus the thousands of others affected.’
Stephanie Dawn Smith said: ‘It is about time a detailed and honest statement was released!
‘Why did this happen? What is being done to fix it? Has there been data corruption?
‘How much longer will customers be without banking services?’ Mr Pester likes to cast himself as a different sort of boss who wants to build a better banking industry.
Mr Pester, pictured, stressed that the bank has not had a data breach
He worked for Lloyds before overseeing its spin-off of TSB in 2013, then took the top job at the new bank and has since cultivated an image as the white knight of finance, attacking everything from unfair overdraft fees to irresponsible lending. Depressingly, attitudes towards customers have not improved at all, despite the credit crisis,’ Mr Pester said in an interview last year.
‘From a consumer perspective, nothing has changed. Can I, as a consumer, get a better deal? No.
‘Do I feel the banks are operating on my behalf any more than they were? Probably no.’
Mr Pester also strives to appear down to earth. He is a keen runner who challenged employees to a ‘beat the boss’ competition for charity at last year’s London triathlon.
The father of two also enjoys surfing and has been travelling to Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall to ride the waves since the age of six.
He once described getting on the water as ‘a real level of escape’, saying the sea ‘feels more like a natural habitat’. Mr Pester was born in Plymouth to a swimming instructor father who once coached Olympic medallist Sharron Davies.
He obtained a mathematical physics doctorate from Oxford University before working as a consultant with firms including McKinsey.
His big break came in 1999 when he was made head of Virgin Money, before working for Lloyds and Moneyfacts. A short stint followed at Santander before he returned to Lloyds in 2010.
Grange Hill star Zammo’s firm left ‘paralysed’
Lee MacDonald, pictured, said his firm is entirely reliant on its online banking service and has been forced to cancel jobs
A former child actor who starred in Grange Hill has had his locksmith business ‘paralysed’ by the meltdown at TSB.
Lee MacDonald said he is entirely reliant on its online banking service, but has been unable to pay staff or suppliers since the IT collapse, forcing him to cancel jobs and deliveries.
Mr MacDonald, 49, played heroin addict Zammo in the BBC children’s drama series between 1982 and 1987 but now runs a locksmith shop in Wallington, Surrey.
He said: ‘If it carries on like this, my whole business will grind to a halt by the end of the week.
‘I employ two engineers who get paid straight away via bank transfer every day for whatever job they work. I have been unable to pay them for the past five days.
‘Today one of them told me that if it carries on like this he will not be able to keep working for me.’
He added: ‘TSB just don’t seem to understand how disastrous it has been.’
I’m so worried I can’t sleep
Dog trainer Judi Rudd from Manchester said she cannot sleep as a result of the banking crisis
Judi Rudd has been left unable to sleep due to the TSB meltdown despite being under doctor’s orders to rest and relax following a serious back operation.
The 51-year-old dog trainer from Manchester has not been able to log into her online account and cannot get to her local TSB branch because of her poor health.
‘I’m worried sick,’ she said. ‘I know some people found their accounts containing zero and I need to see what has happened to mine. I cannot get any access whatsoever – I cannot see what is going in and out. I need to see where I am financially.
‘The stress has left me unable to sleep, and I am meant be recovering from my operation.
‘I have tweeted TSB about my problem but they have not even acknowledged my messages with a copy-and-paste answer. It adds insult to injury.’
I’ll move bank after this fiasco
Historian Guy Walter, pictured, said he will change bank following this debacle
Guy Walters will be moving to a different bank after the TSB crisis left him unable to access his accounts to pay staff and bills.
The historian, pictured, who writes for the Daily Mail, said: ‘The whole thing is a complete fiasco.
‘It’s not only immensely inconvenient, but it’s also embarrassing not to be able to pay people.
‘I have not been able to log in because it says my password is not recognised and my balances keep mysteriously changing.’
He said ‘heads should roll’ in TSB management and that he will be shutting down his account.
He added: ‘It beggars belief that so many things could go wrong. For a major high street bank to mess up so badly is pathetic and abysmal.’