UK financial giant’s new top lady to lead TSB into high tech era

Debbie Crosbie, who becomes CEO of TSB this week, was instrumental in developing CYBG’s new operating platform following its stock market debut hence a technology revolution could see TSB take on the retail electronic markets entities in the UK

Senior executive positions within London’s vast financial institutions are far more egalitarian these days, and as we wave goodbye to an eventful year, appointments for 2019 are now making themselves known.

Very much in keeping with the meritocratic steps that London’s institutions have demonstrated recently with regard to appointing leadership figures, as one of Britain’s traditional and longstanding financial institutions will gain a lady CEO this coming year.

Indeed, the proposed appointment of Debbie Crosbie, former Chief Operating Officer of CYBG, a British bank which was founded following the merger of Scotland’s Clydesdale Bank and England’s Yorkshire Bank, was approved by the board in November, however it is now official that she begins her new tenure as CEO of TSB in the new year, the first working day of the new year.

Of great interest to the electronic trading sector is the new direction toward technology led electronic market access for retail customers, which will be led by Ms Crosbie, represents a new direction for what has long been regarded as a traditional and in some respects outmoded banking institution.

TSB’s executive chairman, Richard Meddings, who took over in September after previous CEO Paul Pester paid the price for a faltering response to the company’s infamous IT failure, said TSB will have recovered from the fiasco by the time Scotswoman Debbie Crosbie takes the reins in just a couple of days time.

Debbie Crosbie

In 2017, the foundation was laid by former CEO Paul Pester for a movement toward technologically led effort to create a more modern and accessible user experience for customers. “We’re getting set to move to our brand new, state-of-the-art digital banking platform towards the end of the year. Changes are already afoot for our customers with the launch of our new mobile banking app in April, and last week we were the first bank in Europe to announce a partnership with Samsung to integrate iris recognition into our mobile app” he said at the time.

Now, just a year and a half later, during a time at which ladies are being appointed as senior leaders of many banking and financial technology institutions across London – Lloyds and Santander have also got plans to appoint female leaders very soon, and RBS’s new COO Katie Murray took up her post last week – the need to move toward access to markets for retail customers is being addressed.

Ms Crosbie was instrumental in developing CYBG’s new operating platform following its stock market debut, as well as the migration of 2 million customers from its “pre-existing archaic underinvested platform”.

This has been noted by several professionals across London. “Pretty useful experience in the context of TSB’s own migration issues” said John Cronin, an analyst at stockbroker Goodbody.

The bank is still working on some IT fixe executives considert that TSB was nearly out of the woods and was now ready to launch new products – including a new business banking service – for the first time since April.

“Although we still see occasional IT issues and interruptions, the number of these incidents is significantly down and now in line with the wider industry,” TSB Chairman Richard Meddings said. More than 118,000 complaints have now been “fully resolved”.

In today’s tech orientated world, IT failures are disastrous for financial institutions, not only wreaking havoc but also creating distrust among customers who for the most part now see banks as electronically operated entities, especially in Britain where new retail-orientated firms such as Transferwise, Revolut and Robin Hood are taking a totally mobile-only service into retail customers with no branch infrastructure at all.

In April 2018 TSB announced through its Twitter feed that it would be upgrading its online systems between 4pm on Friday 20 April and 6pm on the following Sunday. The company warned customers that some services, such as online banking, making payments or transferring money, wouldn’t be possible during the two-day upgrade period.

However, the changes that TSB implemented to its online services turned out to be far greater than the simple software upgrade that such services normally required which resulted in a multitude of customers being locked out of their accounts, costing CEO Peter Pester his job.

The rationale was that TSB was planning to shift the accounts of its 5.4 million customers from an older IT system that was used when the company was part of Lloyds. Although the two banks separated in 2013, TSB was still using Lloyds’s system to manage its customers. Subsequently, TSB moved its online operations to a cloned version of the Lloyds system between 20 and 22 April. The new system has been developed by the Spanish banking group Banco Sabadell.

With Debbie Crosbie as CEO, TSB could see a move toward not only electronic banking apps that actually work, but also toward stock broking and other such added value services.

A new year, a new page for TSB.

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