Wells Fargo message

Customers Roast Wells Fargo

Nationwide Outage Enters Second Day

KCBS Radio Morning News
February 07, 2019 - 10:56 am
Categories: 

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) -- Story updated 9:53 am PST

A massive outage affecting mobile access to Wells Fargo accounts entered a second day on Friday and customer outrage ballooned.

For many people, Friday was payday, and if they could log into their accounts at all, they found no sign of a deposit from their employer. The effects were spotty; by 8:20 am PST, Wells Fargo had posted a message on its website reading, "Online and mobile banking, ATMs, and most other services are now available", and some customers reported seeing correct account balances.

By 9:45 am PST, Wells Fargo told customers the problems should be under control: "As a result of the process to restore systems yesterday, some transactions and balances were not visible in online banking or ATMs earlier today. The transactions were processed normally, and customers can use their accounts with confidence. This issue has now been corrected, and all transactions are now visible. We are experiencing higher than normal volumes so there still may be delays in online banking and contact center response times."

After the bank acknowledged the incident was triggered by a mishap at a data center in the Minneapolis suburb of Shoreview, MN, some customers wanted to know why backup systems didn't kick in.

One data industry expert noted an irony in the situation. "This is exactly the kind of outage that data centers are designed to prevent," said Rich Miller, the founder and editor of Data Center Frontier, a website that covers cloud computing and data centers.

Late Thursday, Wells Fargo tweeted a message to customers: "We want our customers to know that this is a contained issue affecting one of our facilities, and not due to any cybersecurity event. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by these system issues, and any Wells Fargo fees incurred as a result of these issues will be reversed."

The account-access outage was just the latest in a string of embarrassments for the San Francisco-based bank, which ranks among the nation's largest with more than 8,600 locations and more than 13,000 ATM's. 

A "fake-account" scandal came to light in September 2016, when the bank revealed it had fired 5,300 workers over several years for creating millions of fake accounts.

A series of other fraudulent and abusive practices emerged in the following months; by December 2018, Wells Fargo had paid  out more than $4 billion in settlements and fines,  mainly stemming from problems that came to light following the sales scandal. 

Just days before the latest embarrassment, Wells Fargo had unveiled a freshened logo as part of a campaign aimed at rebuilding trust in the marketplace.

The campaign, which used the tag line “Established 1852. Re-established 2018.”,  followed  an apology campaign — “Building a Better Bank” — that Wells Fargo launched in 2017.

The challenge may be greater now, as angry Wells Fargo customers flooded social media to criticize the bank and threaten to move their accounts elsewhere.