SINGAPORE: Singapore’s financial regulator will take action against DBS Group Holdings Ltd after a second digital banking outage in less than two years, calling the disruption “unacceptable”.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore takes seriously the reliability of banks’ critical IT systems, and has asked the country’s biggest lender to conduct a thorough investigation and submit its findings, it said in a statement late Wednesday after DBS’ latest outage stretched for about 10 hours.
“DBS has fallen short of MAS’ expectations to maintain high system availability and ensure its IT systems are recovered expeditiously,” the regulator said. “MAS will take the commensurate supervisory actions after gathering the necessary facts.”
While unusual for a sector known for its constant availability, Wednesday’s incident was reminiscent of the outage the bank suffered in November 2021 — one of its worst digital disruptions in the past decade. Under MAS regulations, financial institutions need to ensure that the maximum unscheduled downtime for each critical system doesn’t exceed four hours within any period of 12 months.
“We acknowledge the gravity of the situation, appreciate our customers’ understanding, and deeply regret the inconvenience caused,” DBS chief executive officer Piyush Gupta said in an emailed statement.
Shares of DBS opened lower Thursday morning, against a rise in the country’s benchmark stock index.
Customers began reporting issues with the bank’s digital services a little after 7am local time, according to Downdetector. The bank said in a Facebook post the services returned to normal around 5.45pm local time. It had earlier extended branch operations by two hours as it worked to recover digital services and a bank’s spokesperson clarified that the issue was limited to Singapore.
“Please be assured that your deposits and monies are safe and secure,” the bank had said in its Facebook post.
Last year, the MAS ordered DBS to set aside S$930 million (US$700 million) of regulatory capital after the 2021 episode left thousands of customers unable to log on to its digital platforms for at least two days. Those issues stemmed from the bank’s access control servers.