back to article Co-op Bank's creaky IT should be flogged off, growls UK.gov

The Co-operative Bank's creaking IT is so shaky it should be sold off, according to senior government officials. Sources told The Times that the concerns centre on the bank’s disaster recovery plan. They suggested a bigger player should buy the bank and stabilise its IT system. The concerns reflect issues outlined in the bank …

  1. Stuart 22 Silver badge

    Feed the Vultures

    Yep the Co-op bank got into a mess by not sticking to its roots as a non-high street bank but becoming overly ambitious as a high street bank with the ill conceived acquisition of Britannia and of the attempted acquisition of TSB and a massive failure in due diligence by another set of parasites.

    The Co-op were not the cause of the banking meltdown. They had been delivering excellent service to us for over 50 years. So their/our reward is it is now in the hands of the very vultures that caused the crisis and our caring government appears to want to complete the process with a complete takeover by those too big to fail. Whose survival to extort more and clobber the competition was financed by us.

    The irony, the irony. With current interest rates my mattress is becoming increasingly attractive ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Feed the Vultures

      "The Co-op were not the cause of the banking meltdown."

      In 2007 they irresponsibly lent me £10's thousands with little chance of getting it back. They didn't get it back. This type of thing was exactly the cause of the banking meltdown - irresponsible borrowers being entertained by irresponsible banks - Co-op included.

      1. Chris Holford
        Facepalm

        Re: Feed the Vultures

        In the past the Coop Bank was a prudent lender; AFAIK they weren't involved in a big way in the banking crisis. (Many years ago I asked for a loan to buy a car; despite being a customer since 1961 and in regular employment, they declined. Northern Rock made me the loan just like that!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Feed the Vultures

      Oh yes, Paul Flowers brought the bank along swimmingly during his tenure. No issues at the top of the bank at all.

  2. depicus

    The Coop in general seems to have been run into the ground. Check out the disaster that is the Coop Energy and two months later people still cannot log into their accounts and forget phoning as their service is nearly as bad as Orange.

    1. Chris Miller

      I was with Co-op (Midshires) energy for a couple of years a few years back (as they had the best rates) - set up an account and updated my meter readings online with no problems. Then I moved to another supplier for a couple of years. Now I'm back with Co-op again (as they have the best rates), but their IT has become mystifyingly crap, and I haven't yet been able to enter a meter reading since I rejoined.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Chris, if you switched fairly recently, yeah, they've had a really bad time. I had a long conversation with their head of customer service who admitted that they could've done a better job communicating. A shame, really...

    2. breakfast
      Facepalm

      Co-op energy have been a staggering incompetence circus in our experience.

      For a long time they were sending bills for money we didn't owe to an address where we don't live. Every month we would contact them to tell them they were doing this and each month we would be solemnly assured that they had resolved the problem. A month later: Another bill for money we didn't owe to an address where we didn't live- in fact to an address a hundred miles away where one of us once had lived and the Co-op had mysteriously decided that all bills should be sent.

      The rates, are not bad, but the cost in terms of time and annoyance is quite high.

      Still, better than BT I guess.

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Coop Energy is not owned by Coop Group. It's owned by the Mid-Counties Coop. And both Mid-Counties + Coop Energy have apologised for the cockup.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        That's half their problem. They market themselves under one name, but then when something goes wrong they drag out the "Thank you Mario, but the product or service you wanted is in another Co-op" line. If one name is good enough to sell you something, one name should be good enough to sort something out when it goes wrong.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    So let me get this right...

    They are in progress of updating all their IT kit which carries some risk.

    To get around this they propose merging banks / systems?

    Yup that's gone so well in the past hasn't it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So let me get this right...

      True, and I think the government will find that most of the 'big banks' have an IT system that is in part or in whole balanced on a deck of cards.

      Very few would be able to say 'our system is fully robust'.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scent of money

    25 years ago the politicians made it possible to de-mutualise the Building Societies and encourage the members to make a quick buck by grabbing their share of the assets.The wider Co-Operative movement, and to a much lesser extent the Co-Op bank, offer a similar opportunity.

    I should like to think that the originate and sell excesses that became the norm' at the likes of Northern Rock would not have happened had the Building Societies not de-mutualised. The mess that Britannia got itself into (and by extension the Co-Op after their merger) suggests that it could have happened anyway.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So someone is going to get fired for buying IBM ?

    1. David Glasgow

      Chuckle =

      Upvote

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Hope so. They've reached such a level of cluelessness that they've brought in Big Blue to save the day - now that really is clueless.

      1. SteveCo

        Co-op Bank have been IBM for at least 25 years. They are just upgrading to newer hardware I assume. COBOL FTW!

  6. Mage Silver badge

    Yet...

    If you are running a Bank or other financial services you need to become world class IT experts and sell IT services to others. Absolutely not outsource it. Because today the core of banking isn't about a big safe full of banknotes and ledgers.

    It's pure IT.

    So unless you become an expert in IT, Programming, you are just a Franchise operation for an IT services company and not a real bank at all.

    1. LucreLout

      Re: Yet... @Mage

      If you ever make CTO of a large bank, let me know, I'll come work for you. Agree 100% with what you have said, but nobody at any bank I've worked for genuinely gets what that means in practice.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imagine if it was being cloned

    Imagine if a mostly tax-payer owned bank was having its demonstrably outage-prone IT systems being cloned as part of a spin-out of branches ! How stupid would that be ? So the 'new' bank would have the rubbish IT systems which are barely kept afloat, rather than taking the opportunity to fix it ?

    But that would never happen would it, somewhere over the Rainbow, a Lonsdale long way away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Imagine if it was being cloned

      I see what you did there.

  8. JeffinLondon
    FAIL

    F'd up

    I interviewed there about 18 months ago for the CIO job - they were far more concerned that I would support their philosophy and ethos than I would get the job done - it was laughable. And sad.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'A proven end-to-end disaster recovery strategy'

    Because there are banks which have those. Oh no, wait, there aren't: there are banks which lie – often to themselves, always to the regulators – about having one and get away with it, and ones that lie and get caught. At some point something properly bad is going to happen to a big bank's IT at which point the lying won't help it get back up, and some or all of the other banks will follow it down. That's going to make 2007/8 look really very minor.

    AC for the obvious reasons.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Their online banking system

    doesn't seem to rely on scripts in order to work. Plus point?

  11. LucreLout
    Megaphone

    Too many chiefs....

    Co-Op will be a typical large corporate IT setup, with far far too much management who either never wrote code [1], or haven't done it since VB6. Unless and until boards of directors wake up to the fact that these people destroy value in IT as opposed to adding it, then progress can not be made.

    Haven't coded [2] in 10 years? Then retire, because things have moved on so far that you're out of the game. You're simply not cut out for systems architecture, determining strategy for a field that you no longer understand, or even making correct tactical decisions.

    [1][2]: Network administration etc included. I'm really referring to coal face jobs here. But I'm lazy. and literate only to Sun reader level.

  12. Lyndon Hills 1

    creaking IT

    The Co-operative Bank's creaking IT is so shaky it should be sold off, according to senior government officials.

    If it's that rubbish, why do they think someone will buy it? Who? Maybe the government?

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