No matter how hard it tries TSB can’t get away from the consequences of the biggest IT meltdown in corporate history. Last week Metro Bank was awarded £120 million from a fund paid for by the Royal Bank of Scotland to promote competition in small business banking. TSB’s business banking plans were heavily dependent on being awarded that money and its move into this key area has been scuppered before it even began.

And it gets worse. The others winners were both digital banks: Starling, which will receive £100 million and Clearbank, which will receive £60 million.

The awards are part of a £775million fund that RBS must pay for as part if its final state aid penalty for the £45.5billion bailout it received during the financial crisis. The aim of scheme is to reduce RBS’s dominant share of the small business banking market and improve competition and choice.

TSB’s application was rejected by the independent Banking Competition Remedies body. The recent rankings by the Competition and Markets Authority on customer satisfaction amongst small businesses may have been an important factor. On overall service quality for small business customers, TSB came 14th out of 14. Metro Bank came 2nd and Lloyds Bank came 4th. On all the other factors TSB came bottom apart from services in branches were it came 4th out of 14. Again, branch staff saving the TSB from complete humiliation.

TBU wrote to the Chairman of the Banking Commission and said: “….many will find it difficult to understand how the BCR could consider awarding TSB one of the Pool A grants without knowing exactly what happened with the IT migration. If the Slaughter and May report finds that there is something fundamentally wrong with TSB’s IT platform surely that’s something the BCR would want to know before it awards a grant worth £120million. TSB’s application should be set aside until it publishes part 1 of the Slaughter and May report.” (Please click this text to see the letter.)

It would appear that the BCR took our warning into account when making its decision. TSB should publish the Slaughter and May report immediately; it’s almost 2 months overdue.

There are a further three pools of awards that TSB can apply for but they are only worth between £15 million and £50 million. TSB needs to get its house in order now or it won’t get anything from the BCR fund.

ICS & BGCs – What Going On?

We are getting a lot of calls from members regarding bank giro credits (BGC) and the image clearing system (ICS). It seems the system is throwing out lots of errors and is actually creating more work in branches. If the BGC doesn’t scan properly staff have to resend it, after having waded through a 15-page booklet to find the problem, and register the error. All of that is done in front of the customer. The errors have to be logged on to 1:1 forms and staff are concerned that they will be used against them at some future stage.

We will cover this issue in more detail in a further Newsletter but in the meantime we would like to hear from members about their experiences of the image clearing system. Members can contact us at

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