BB&T Corp. has “substantially recovered” its online and mobile banking services from an outage that has lasted more than two days, the bank said today.
An equipment malfunction at a data center disrupted the financial routines of millions of BB&T Corp. customers beginning late Thursday afternoon.
The interruption of services has drawn unflattering reactions on social media, both locally and nationally, as BB&T customers tried to get money out of an ATM or when checking if the direct deposit of their paycheck had shown up.
"We are still working through a few issues for some of our clients and providing them with specific guidance through secure messages within our U online and mobile banking apps, " the bank said in an 8 a.m. today update.
“As our systems continue to recover, we want our clients to be aware account information may only reflect transactions made through Thursday night,” the bank said in a statement Saturday.
BB&T expected account information to be current Sunday.
The bank said it would reimburse customers for any fees they are assessed related to the outage, as well as waive its fees.
“We are carefully reviewing the cause of this issue, and taking steps to make sure this doesn’t occur in the future,” the bank said. “We are deeply sorry this has happened and we’re committed to making this right for our clients.”
BB&T said its debit, credit and prepaid cards have not been affected, although some customers commenting on BB&T’s Facebook page said they have had difficulty in using them.
An outage map showed the biggest repercussions were being felt in Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle, as well as in Atlanta, Washington, Maryland and Philadelphia.
The bank has 2,044 branches in 15 states. Its corporate headquarters are in Winston-Salem.
It was an untimely service breakdown given BB&T’s latest marketing pitch is “All we see is you,” and the bank had avoided having a major customer-service issue, unlike many of its peers.
BB&T’s social-media officials tried to put salve on the glitch via its website and Facebook page with a brief explanation of what happened, service updates, apologies and answers to customer questions.
By 12:45 p.m. Friday, BB&T had restored use of its ATM machines and automated Phone24 service.
By 3:30 p.m. Friday, it posted a notice that branches would stay open extra on Friday and branches that are normally open Saturdays would have two additional business hours.
Roger Beahm, executive director of the Center for Retail Innovation at Wake Forest University, said BB&T’s service issue particularly is intrusive given that “today people take digital-banking services for granted, just as they do electricity or gasoline.”
“When those necessities are suddenly taken away, people persevere through resourcefulness until the crisis is over, but they don’t forget easily,” Beahm said.
BB&T reported in October 2012 and January 2013 being among several national and super-regional banks whose online services had been cyberhacked by groups sponsored by the Iranian government, causing “denial of service” disruptions.
“At this time, we have no reason to believe this issue is related to cybersecurity,” BB&T spokesman Brian Davis said Friday.
Some financial analysts said the BB&T digital outage is an example for why it is advisable for consumers to have funds in more than one financial institution — with the caveat that they can afford multiple service charges.
They also recommended keeping enough cash around the house to be able to pay for one-to-three days of food and other necessities in case of a similar disruption in access to their money.