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HDFC Bank 'on war footing' to curb outages after RBI bans digital launches

Anand Adhikari     December 3, 2020

HDFC Bank new CEO Sashidhar Jagdishan today said that the second largest bank in the country is working on war footing to strengthen its systems.

"Some of our strategic digital initiatives to improve the front-end digital experience, improve digital origination, straight through processing, next generation of mobile and internet banking, APIs based banking on the edge etc would now be readied and launched post the approval and clearance from regulator," said Jagdishan in a message to bank customers.

The private bank had two outages, one in November 2018 and second one in December 2019. "We have taken help of external expertise, understood what needs to be done further and have substantially implemented the inputs to strengthen our IT infrastructure and systems. Unexpectedly another incident happened on November 21, 2020 and the primary reason for the same is the power outage in our Primary Data Centre," explained Jagdishan.

The RBI has advised the bank to temporarily stop all launches of the digital business generating activities planned under its program Digital 2.0 , other proposed business generating IT applications and new credit card issuance.

The RBI's decision to issue a halt notice was taken based on the recent incidents of outages in the internet banking, mobile banking and payment services over a two-year period.

"We take this opportunity to assure our existing customers that there is no reason to worry. You can continue to transact with the bank without any concern," said Jagdishan.

In a message to customers, Jagdishan said the bank realises that as our valued customer, you expect us to maintain a very high standard of service quality and experience. "And sometimes, we have not been able to live up to your expectations. For that, please accept our sincere apologies," said Jagdishan.

The most recent outage took place last month due to a power failure in the primary data centre.

In addition, the RBI's order states that the bank's Board examines the lapses and fixes accountability, which signals the RBI's serious approach to these kinds of lapses.

The bank claims that it has taken several measures over the last two years to fortify its IT systems . "We will continue to work swiftly to close out the balance and would continue to engage with the regulator in this regard," says HDFC Bank.

The bank has said that it always endeavored to provide seamless digital banking services to its customers. The Bank has been taking conscious, concrete steps to remedy the recent outages on its digital banking channels and assures its customers that it expects the current supervisory actions will have no impact on its existing credit cards, digital banking channels and existing operations.

The bank believes that these measures will not materially impact its overall business.

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