We didn’t think it would be long before Sabadell outlined its real intentions for TSB. The Chief Executive of TSB’s Spanish owner Sabadell has confirmed that it’s open to selling TSB if it got the right offer. At a conference in Barcelona, Cesar Gonzalez-Bueno, said: “We are no longer forced to sell. If at some point there is a potential buyer interested at a later stage, we are open to it…..”. Whilst it waits for the right buyer, we expect that Sabadell, whose own independence seems far from certain, will look to squeeze as much cash as possible out of the UK business. Furthermore, it won’t be investing any money in a business it wants to offload as soon as possible.
It’s a far cry from the promises of 2015 when TSB’s Chief Executive at the time, Paul Pester, said that Sabadell’s firepower would help the lender build its position as Britain’s challenger bank. Instead, Sabadell and the TSB senior management team, almost destroyed a bank. They did manage to destroy the TSB brand.
What TSB needs is a vision for the future. In a previous Newsletter we said: “TSB staff want to be inspired but that’s something the current senior management team is failing to do, possibly because the real decisions are made in Spain. The Chief Executive inherited a ship that was already taking on water and isn’t to blame for the past, but she is going to need to find and be allowed to implement a new formula pretty quickly”.
Time is running out for Debbie Crosbie. A strategy based around just selling mortgages is not going to save jobs and branches. TSB staff deserve better than that.
No Tills At TSB?
Members may recall a few years ago RBS ran an advert which claimed the 7.01 from Reading to Paddington was its busiest branch, with over 167,000 commuters using mobiles and tablets to conduct transactions on their way into work. It’s certainly not its busiest branch now! The point was clearly made and since then many new branches have been designed without counters, sending the message to customers that transactional business can only be done either online or by using one of the many machines that now dominate branches.
TSB has been running a pilot whereby counter positions are closed and customers wanting to do transactional business are directed to one or other of the machines in branch or to online banking. However, we have been told by members in some of the pilot branches that they have had to operate ‘secret tills’ because customers are refusing to use machines and bank online. And the more customers know that the ‘secret till’ exists, the more customers want to use it, and this is causing security problems with staff having to carry large amounts of money through the banking hall for customers who refuse to accept there are no tills open.
In some branches, two members of staff are doing what would normally be done by one member of staff sat behind a till. That doesn’t seem to be a very good use of resources. Equally, if customers want to use a till to transact on their accounts then TSB should make that available, rather than doing everything possible to frustrate customers. It can’t afford to carry on hacking off customers.