Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) suffered a major “unscheduled outage” on Saturday, prompting annoyed Kiwis to vent frustrations on social media following a technology glitch.
Lasting four hours, customers were denied access to banking applications across mobile and online devices, with Eftpos, ATMs and in-store banking also screeching to a halt following a systems outage.
“On behalf of everyone at BNZ, I want to apologise for the disruption caused to our customers by the systems outage we experienced,” said Paul Cater, chief customer officer of BNZ, via a prepared media statement. “A power failure was the cause of the problem and we are very sorry for the inconvenience it caused to people enjoying their Saturday.
“Our immediate priority has been to get the system back up and running and I’m pleased to say it was back to normal Saturday afternoon. We are also working through how best to support impacted customers.
“This will include working with customers who experienced direct financial loss due to the outage to ensure they are not unfairly impacted. The outage was our mistake and we’ll be working to make things right.”
BNZ first reported the issue on Saturday morning, advising social media users that the bank was “currently experiencing an outage that has affected some of our systems”.
The news triggered a social media storm across Facebook and Twitter, with angry customers coming online to vent their frustrations.
After one disgruntled user labelled the outage as an “embarrassment”, another followed suit by questioning the banking giant’s lack of investment in services and systems.
“Hi BNZ! I see this month you posted a $490m profit at the half-yearly mark,” wrote Sally Patrick. “Wow! Your chummy f/b post I guess keeps customers happy for the minute, however the bigger question really sits around why are you making such huge profits at the cost of staff jobs and service to your customers (not your shareholders and CEO pay-packet)?”
Continuing the barrage of criticism, one user asked how a multi-million dollar business such as BNZ can fail to have a back-up system in place for such an outage - “this is incompetence in this digital age”.
As the hours ticked by, and the comments stacked up, systems were finally starting to be restored with cards and ATMs “working as they should”, and other systems, including internet banking and mobile banking “following suit”.
Four hours after first reporting an outage, all systems were restored and stable.
“We know this outage hugely inconvenienced many of our customers today so please accept our sincerest apologies,” a spokesperson for BNZ said at the time.
“Rest assured that we’ll be working with all parties involved to get a full understanding of the root cause and lessons learned. Again, thank you for your understanding, and sorry for the impact to your Saturday.”
The technology glitch happened at the same time as parent company National Australia Bank suffered a “nationwide outage” to some of its technology systems, leaving customers unable to access banking services or withdraw money.
Similar to New Zealand, Australian customers also took to social media to vent their frustrations, with some saying they were left unable to pay for groceries or refuel their cars.
“Loyal member for 15 years and you leave me standing at the supermarket altar with a trolley full of shopping," said one Twitter user.
As reported by ARN, NAB said the outage was a result of a “systems failure”, citing a “power issue” as the root cause of the damage, while also insisting that “no personal data has been compromised”.
*This story was updated on Monday 28 May at 7:14am to include a statement from BNZ