back to article Co-op Bank's shonky IT in spotlight as delayed probe given go-ahead

An inquiry into The Co-operative Bank's financial collapse is to open four years after it was first announced by former UK chancellor George Osborne. The Treasury today directed financial regulator Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to conduct a review into how the bank was regulated between 2008 and 2013, before a £1.5bn …

  1. PeterBerry

    Half a £Billion sounds like quite a lot of money - even for a Second System.

    Was this developed in-house do we know? Or out-sourced to a multinational provider? (And if so who? Haven't noticed the usual bragging about grabbing a big contract.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The software was bought in, a product called finacle from Infosys (iirc), they threw £500m at it, intending it to replace the mainframe before deciding it wasn't fit for purpose.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sounds like my employer. Some high up wanker gets sold software by another wanker in a suit without any idea whether it will be any use or not. Rather than lose face they double down.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Yet another one of those QUALITY rock-steady financial pooducts?

          a product called finacle

          If the "not fit for purpose" is due to the usual problems, the headline practically writes itself...

          finagle: to obtain by trickery

          "Who is developing this code?".

          "Star Programmers."


          "STAR. PROGRAMMERS."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yet another one of those QUALITY rock-steady financial pooducts?

            I assumed the half billion was for a shitload of local servers , workstations , OS and office licenses , new , um , leased lines , staff training etc - the whole shebang. Bargian i thought - for once.

            If it was just for "a product called finacle" then I'd say they were ripped off. Co op purchasing / proj mgmt not realising what scalability is , unlike the vendors marketing / pricing dept.

            1. MyffyW Silver badge

              Re: Yet another one of those QUALITY rock-steady financial pooducts?

              Read the Kelly review (available via all good search engines) for insight into quite how the Co-Op Bank found itself in the mire. A very measured assessment of corporate failure.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not brilliant

    An organisation that I am involved with uses the Co-op. At one point we had two accounts with, deliberately, different signatories. We set up online banking for one account with access for the signatories on that account - and discovered they could also access the other account.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They could make a start by sorting out their desktop OS and replacing Windows XP, although it sounds like this is one of a very large number of problems.

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    Half a billion on "improving" thier IT, and all I have noticed for that money is an utterly shite online banking experience.

    Every time I have to do something that can't be achieved on the mobile app, I have to ring them up because - as far as I'm concerned - the online banking system is unusable. Cue me being told "oh you know you could do this online?", to whit I tell them I'm lonely and need the human contact.

    I don't, but I'd rather be seen to be a lonely old man than have to use that God awful online portal.

    1. handleoclast


      I don't, but I'd rather be seen to be a lonely old man than have to use that God awful online portal.

      No need to pretend (or even be) a lonely old man. Not when you can use this...

      "I'd use your on-line portal but I'm hopeless with computers."

      "Erm, but it says on your account details that you're employed as a computer programmer."

      "Yes, I am. Tell me, what do you think of your IT system?"

      "I see your point. How can I help you?"

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        I actually told them that when it was first released, and they took my comments as a complaint and I was then given a letter by the head of their IT.

        The letter basically ran along the lines of that scene in Matilda, where the Dad starts saying "I'm smart you're dumb, I'm big you're little, I'm right you're wrong, and there's nothing you can do about it".

        So fuck 'em.

        1. Mark 65

          So fuck 'em.

          Yet from your previous post I get the impression you still bank with them? Hardly fucking them is it sir? The only notice a financial institution will take of you is when you up and leave, especially if enough join you in doing so. Staying put and ranting? They couldn't give less of a shit about it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They also need to look at the project for merging the Co-op Group and Co-op Bank into one before the shit hit the fan and made a mess and split the two up again causing bigger problems.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bill Payments

    Cooperative online portal interface/systems are still a complete load of crap.

    Say, you have a current account and a saving account (both have sort code and account numbers, i.e. the saving doesn't have a separate reference, it's a 'proper' separate account supposedly).

    If you set up a bill payment to a credit card from your current account and enter the Bank's sort code and account number + 16 Card number for the reference, all works fine, as long as you always pay from your current account. The next bit is incredulous.

    If you select the existing bill payment to pay the same credit card, but then decide to pay the credit card sourcing the funds instead, from your savings account, the system can't do it. It can't send payments which include a bill payment reference number, from the savings account.

    Instead, it creates a whole new bill payment alongside the existing one, without a reference number and sends the payment from saving account 'into the abyss' without the 16 card reference number!

    I thought I'd been hacked when I first saw the two bill payment authorites in the list, and the fact the payment hadn't reached my credit card. These aren't small sums either.

  7. James Anderson

    Replacing the mainframe

    Any project that has replacing the mainframe as the primary goal is doomed to falure.

    Replacing an unsupportable system -- fine. But just changing the hardware who cares.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever did happen to Gerry Penell OBE?

    Just a thought?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whatever did happen to Gerry Penell OBE?

      Gerry A and Gerry B went to Manchester Uni for a while:

      His replacement was slacked a few years ago...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whatever did happen to Gerry Penell OBE?

        Slacked? They forced the replacement to only use apps based on Electron? Good god, the bastards!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the old days

    Smile used to brag about its high security standards and I liked the fact it was supposedly ethical.

    Such a shame things have changed. Anyone know an online bank system you can 'try' to see if you like it before moving your account?. Smile's is silly now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In the old days

      While live chat is quite useful, if you do need to speak to someone, it's now practically impossible with Smile. It's become stupidly tedious. If you enter your account details on the phone system, it tells you to use the online chat, and then just sends you round in circles, with online chat folk telling you to phone!

      I remember quitting Abbey National when they introduced a telephone kiosk in the branch, when you went to the counter, they sent you over to the phone kiosk to speak to a call centre operator. I pointed out I can do that by phone anywhere and while I'm in the branch it would be more useful just serving me as I'd already waited in line. I left Abbey National shortly after, to Smile.

      Like you, I need to leave.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: In the old days

        There's Starling Bank, which is a bit like Smile. Not sure what they're like though.

        I opened an account with TSB, and I've found them to be a lot like the Co-Op of old. Friendly phone people, friendly in branch staff, helpful people.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In the old days

          Opposite for me with TSB (not dealt with branch staff so not including them here), bunch of useless idiots with an online banking system that forces you to speak to them on the phone to do anything, and liars who claim technical reasons for problems that are simply incorrect (not talking in-depth details here, complete basics that a school kid would know)

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "banned the bank's disgraced former chairman"

    Well finally something concrete for top-level executive. Mind you, he wasn't banned from ever being a chairman again, he was just banned from being chairman of a financial institution. In other words, he might be able to set up a charity that does banking.

    So, not exactly the sharp edge of the axe, but still . .

    1. Mark 65

      Re: "banned the bank's disgraced former chairman"

      To be honest if I'd caused a loss of this magnitude I'd expect my sanction to be a little more than "you can still have an extremely highly paid job, just not in this sector". Fine or sentence would be more in order.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    However bad it may be

    It still isnt as shite as HMRC.

    My losses to HMRC are currently running 2:1 against my losses at the COOP due to crap software that has been in Beta for a decade.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple fix - move banks

    The end.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Raid on COOP

    Still waiting for some idea of who the COOP's money went to and why it wasn't recoverable, also what happened to the COOP's incompetence insurance? Money doesn't just disappear, it is still clinking in the thieves pockets. This isn't the US where they can get away with fraudiently selling bad loans to international investors as premium investments and then say "not our problem".

    This whole thing smells worse than the Tory party selling the TSB (which they didn't own), in any other job a fk up of this order would result in time in prison but in finance the law is who you know

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Raid on COOP

      Given the chief complaint seems to be the risk levels in the loan book it would be through unrecoverable debt. You borrow to build a business that is high risk or with a low probability of being viable long term and subsequently go titsup. The money has been lost on setting up and running a business that couldn't repay its debt. Depending on the business the recoverable amount may be low digit pennies in the pound. Likewise if you made 105% loans on overpriced housing that went to shit post GFC. Do this enough times and you'll get your £1.5bn.

  14. What's up with today?
    Thumb Down


    Having banked with Nat West for many years and being treat like a valued customer, l was forced to bank elsewhere through debt problems brought about by illness. Unfortunately l was recommended the services of the Co op bank. The service compared to Nat West was total naff, examples being going to set up a new payment amount for a standing order facing a barage of different password questions. Going in the next week to check my instructions had been carried out, to be told by the counter assistant "sorry l am not allowed to tell you that".

    Only to find out the payment taken out was the original amount prior to change. Going in the next day to sort it out only for them to tell me later l need to contact head office to let them know only they could deal with it. Then a survey came through about the Co op asking" ln one word what best describes your experience with the Co Op" to which the only answer was UNCOOPERATIVE. To rub salt into the wounds three weeks later l was sent a letter about the future closure of my local branch, and the nearest branch being 36 miles away. I think with this level of service the Co op had better bury itself, may l suggest Co op funeral services perhaps not they would probably leave the head sticking out.

    1. Mark 65


      If they're bad compared to Nat West then they really must be shit.

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