On Monday, Singapore’s second-biggest bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC.SI), said that it had restored all its banking services after grappling with technical problems that disrupted various banking channels. It had taken to its social media accounts earlier to warn of the issues that began at 8:33 a.m.
OCBC, Southeast Asia’s second-biggest lender by assets, apologized for the inconvenience and said it had done everything to restore its systems as quickly as possible. The incident was not due to a cyber attack, the bank added. Its online banking and mobile app services had been down for over six hours after the problem surfaced, leaving customers unable to log in or access their account information. In a statement, OCBC said it would continue to work with authorities and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to help victims of the disruption.
Some users took to OCBC’s Facebook page to complain that their credit card payments could not go through and that they could not withdraw cash from ATMs. Others said that their online doctor consultations still needed to be processed. The bank advised customers to log out of their OCBC Internet Banking and OCBC Digital sessions as soon as they are done using them and to protect their devices by logging off or locking them. It also recommended that they use only secure Wi-Fi when connecting to the internet and not rely on public computers.
The bank said that the disruption was caused by a new security feature that was activated to protect customers from malware-related scams. It said the feature identifies mobile apps not downloaded from official app stores like Google Play and Huawei AppGallery as they may contain malware. The feature will flag these apps for users and request that they remove them from their phones. The bank also said it has been working with authorities and the SPF to assist victims of malware-related scams.
In its latest move to digitalize its onboarding process, OCBC has launched a service that allows foreigners moving to Singapore to open a local bank account via the OCBC Digital app in minutes. Previously, it took days or weeks for such consumers to open an account, as they had to travel to Singapore to present physical documents for verification. OCBC says it will leverage artificial intelligence, data analytics, and biometrics technologies from OneConnect Financial Technology, an associate of Ping An Group, and OCBC’s e-KYC processes to offer the new service.
The service is available for consumers from critical markets, including Malaysia, Indonesia, mainland China, and Hong Kong. They will be able to open Singapore dollar and multi-currency savings accounts, as well as remittances and e-commerce transactions. It is the first time an incumbent Singapore bank has offered such a service to overseas residents. Digital challenger Trust, backed by Standard Chartered and retail giant FairPrice Group, has offered a similar service since last year.