Customers of Melbourne-based Members Equity Bank have found themselves locked out of their online accounts for 3 days following a system upgrade over the weekend, which produced increased traffic volumes that left many people unable to log in on Monday.
The system was down for most of the weekend as the bank upgraded its IT, and as a result, Monday’s high demand meant many users could not access their account.
Customers attempting to log into Members Equity today were greeted with a screen warning that the bank was “experiencing high-volume with internet, phone and mobile app banking”.
It reassured people that the system was up and running, but added “some customers may still be experiencing issues logging in. Please wait a short time and try again.”
Those who pressed on were often greeted with message saying “Oops – we’re sorry. Internet banking is very busy right now”, which continued until after banks closed for the day.
Some took to Twitter to voice their concerns, with the bank apologising repeatedly to customers:
@justinbarbour Vry sry 4 the inconvenience :( net banking is working, there is a volume issue some customers r experiencing logging in- dave
— ME Bank (@mebank) July 14, 2014
The bank reassured some customers that it would cover any costs, such as late payment fees, incurred by any customers who could not access their accounts.
The prolonged outage comes as second-tier banks and credit unions begin to modernise their core banking architecture for future banking operations. Members Equity has nearly 300,000 customers, but hopes to expand its capacity to more than 1 million. It’s spent around $60 million over the last four years upgrading its technology, but an upgrade to its core banking technology is now several months behind schedule.
The Big Four banks have all made sizeable investments in their core banking architecture over the last five years in a bid to focus on real-time transactions and modern customers experiences.
Core banking modernisation also prioritises the roll-out of new, customer-facing innovations such as NFC (tap-and-pay-style systems) and mobile payment technology, real-time processing of funds and same-day clearing for small to medium businesses. Second-tier banks are now following in the wake of the Big Four, upgrading software, mainframe systems, datacentre operations and staff processes.
Members Equity Bank is ME Bank is owned by 30 of Australia’s top industry super funds and is chaired by former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser. It was more than $14 billion in assets.
A spokesperson for Members Equity apologised for the “significant inconvenience” due to “unprecedented volumes of traffic”.
“Our technical team will work through the night to improve access,” he said.