Singapore’s leading banks, DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and Citigroup Inc., experienced a service disruption that left their customers without access to essential banking facilities for several hours. The disruption occurred due to an issue at a shared data center, causing payment services and online transactions to be temporarily unavailable.
On a fateful Saturday, customers of both DBS and Citigroup encountered significant disruptions in their banking services, triggering concerns and inconveniences. Payment services, online transactions, and access to banking facilities were all affected during the outage.
Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Response
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) acknowledged the issue after both banks informed them in the afternoon about the disruption. MAS promptly began investigating the matter to determine the root cause of the disruption. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (Singtel) also verified the normal functioning of its networks, confirming that the problem wasn’t related to connectivity issues.
The disruption had a ripple effect, impacting customers both inside and outside of Singapore. Several customers who were abroad reported their inability to use credit cards issued by DBS and Citigroup or perform online transactions. The inconvenience and uncertainty left many frustrated.
Root Cause and Statement from MAS
Preliminary investigations pointed to the disruption’s source being a common data center used by both banks. The MAS emphasized its commitment to resolving the issue as swiftly as possible and ensuring affected customers receive timely communication and support throughout the process. Despite the service disruption, both DBS and Citigroup reassured customers that their systems remained uncompromised, and their funds and deposits were secure.
Equinix Inc.’s Response
The technical issue responsible for the disruption occurred at the Equinix Inc. data center, used by both DBS and Citigroup. The problem led to a rise in data center temperatures and impacted customers’ operations. An Equinix spokesperson confirmed that the technical issue had been resolved, and the affected customers were being actively engaged. Equinix also stated that a comprehensive investigation would be conducted to prevent future incidents of this nature.
The recent disruption is not the first instance of technical issues faced by DBS, Singapore’s largest lender. Following previous glitches, regulatory authorities imposed higher capital requirements on the bank, deeming the service interruptions as “unacceptable.” The Monetary Authority of Singapore has been keeping a watchful eye on the bank’s IT systems’ reliability and has taken action following digital banking outages in the past.
Under the regulations set forth by MAS, financial institutions must ensure that their critical IT systems’ unscheduled downtime does not exceed four hours within any 12-month period.
The service disruption faced by DBS and Citigroup has underscored the importance of maintaining robust IT infrastructure in the banking sector. Authorities, regulators, and financial institutions must collaborate to ensure the reliability of critical systems and prevent extended periods of downtime. The incident serves as a reminder of the continuous efforts required to uphold the standards of digital banking services and maintain customer trust and satisfaction.