DBS and Citibank banking services outage angers customers in Singapore

DBS suffers brand damage after repeated online service failures due to data center issue.

DBS and Citibank banking services outage angers customers in Singapore
Customers of DBS and Citibank in Singapore faced a frustrating weekend as online banking and payment services were unavailable for many hours on Saturday, October 14 due to an issue at a common data centre used by the banks. The outage also affected DBS ATM services and some services in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and India.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it was informed of the matter by the banks on Saturday afternoon.
“Preliminary investigations indicate that the service disruptions were caused by an issue at a common data centre that is used by the banks,” the MAS said in a statement. “MAS has been following up closely with the banks, as they work towards a full resumption of their services, and provide timely communications and support to affected customers.”
The following day DBS posted an update on its Facebook page to say that all services had returned to normal. However, customers took to social media to air their frustration.
"11pm still haven't been fixed.... Breaking the record this time?" One netizen commented on a Facebook post. 
"Shopping today made me very embarrassed, not everyone will see Facebook notifications to realise that your credit cards aren't working," another commented. 
Banking outages have plagued DBS in recent months. The disruption on Saturday comes after customers faced processing delays when using one of its payment services last month.
Back in March, DBS experienced an outage that lasted for almost 10 hours. The regulator stated at the time that it took seriously the dependability of banks' essential IT systems and had ordered DBS to undertake an extensive investigation and report its findings. 
As the largest lender in Singapore, DBS, was also subject to stricter capital requirements in May 2023 as a result of "unacceptable" issues with its online services, according to the regulator.
The incident brought to mind the bank's outage from November 2021, which was among the greatest digital interruptions it had experienced in the previous decade.
According to MAS regulations, financial institutions must make sure that each essential system's maximum unscheduled downtime does not exceed four hours during any 12-month period. After Saturday's outage, DBS and Citigroup later said their banking facilities have resumed after a technical issue at the Equinix Inc. data centre used by the lenders was resolved.
“A technical issue occurred at one of our data centres in Singapore that raised the temperatures in the data centre and impacted some customers’ operations,” an Equinix spokesperson told Bloomberg. “The technical issue has been resolved and we are in contact with impacted customers.”

DBS' damage control did little to the blow to its reputation. Customers expressed their anger online on X (Twitter) over the service disruption. According to media analysis and intelligence firm CARMA, DBS’ social media sentiment dropped from 25.6% positive and 19% negative before the incident to 17.3% positive and 36.3% negative after it. DBS’ attempts to reassure customers did little to mitigate the PR crisis.

DBS brand sentiments plummet (again). Analysis by Divika Jethmal/CARMA

CARMA's head of marketing, Divika Jethmal shared with Campaign that this could damage DBS’ image of reliability and dependability.

“However, DBS and its CEO still have a strong reputation in Singapore and Asia because of their financial performance, community support and other factors,” she added.

Jethmal also says that DBS can restore trust by providing consistent, error-free service and offering compensation and goodwill to affected customers. “DBS should focus on both delivering a smooth service and meeting customer expectations to regain confidence in their brand.”


Campaign Asia

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