Standard Bank outage — here’s what caused it

Standard Bank’s services suffered extensive downtime on Saturday, 21 May 2022, due to a component failure that resulted in its engineers rebuilding the system’s architecture.

The bank revealed the reason for the failure during a media briefing on Tuesday, where Standard Bank CEO Lungisa Fuzile apologised for the outage.

Standard Bank chief engineering officer Khomotso Molabe said the component that handles inbound and outbound transactions — the “generic switch” — had failed at around 07:30 on Saturday.

Molabe explained that it was the first time Standard Bank had experienced this kind of failure, and its engineers had to rebuild the system’s architecture to correct it.

He also said that the bank could not guarantee that a similar outage won’t happen again but explained that Standard Bank had improved its monitoring measures to reduce the frequency of such events.

“We have a good degree of confidence that we will see improvement,” Molabe said.

Fuzile said the outage on Saturday affected ATMs and point-of-sale devices, which were inaccessible to most of its customers for the duration of the downtime. The system was restored at around 14:45.

The bank also stated that Saturday’s outage was unrelated to the other instances of downtime experienced this year, which it attributed to software bugs.

Saturday’s outage was the third time the bank has suffered downtime this year.

Khomotso Molabe, Standard Bank chief engineering officer

On Sunday, 8 May, Standard Bank’s online banking, credit card, and ATM systems went down, leaving its customers unable to transact other than with their debit cards.

Customers reported the outage on Downdetector and social media, with a noticeable spike starting at around noon. Standard Bank confirmed that it had resolved the issue at 15:44.

Before that, the bank suffered an outage that made its online and app banking services inaccessible to customers on 25 March. A similar outage occurred on 1 February.

Below are the dates on which Standard Bank downtime occurred:

Molabe said that the bank’s heightened monitoring would help reduce the frequency of incidents.

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Standard Bank outage — here’s what caused it