Media Releases
Published Date: 19 October 2023

MAS' Response to Media Queries on DBS Bank and Citibank's Recent Banking Services Disruptions

Singapore, 19 October 2023... MAS requires all banks to ensure that their critical systems and services to customers are resilient to disruption. Banks are required to have in place back-up data centres and systems and test them periodically to ensure that critical systems and services can be restored within 4 hours following an outage. In addition, the unscheduled downtime for a critical system affecting a bank’s operations or service to customers must not exceed 4 hours within any 12-month period. MAS does not have oversight of data centres; instead MAS expects banks to establish contractual agreements with data centre providers that incorporate MAS’ requirements on system availability.

Both DBS Bank Ltd (DBS Bank) as well as Citibank N.A., Singapore Branch and Citibank Singapore Limited (Citibank) activated their back-up data centres when their primary data centres failed to perform normally on 14 October 2023.

However, the banks were not able to fully recover their systems within the required timeframe. MAS has instructed both banks to conduct a thorough investigation on why they were not able to do so, and will take appropriate supervisory actions after gathering the necessary facts.

No IT system is infallible. Banks and customers should have contingency measures in the event of service disruptions caused by IT outages. 

The banks activated contingency measures such as extension of branch hours and alternative arrangements for credit card transactions, to reduce the impact on customers.

Customers can benefit from having alternative payment providers and carrying some cash as a contingency. During this recent service disruption, many affected customers with alternative payment providers were able to switch to those or to using cash, minimising inconvenience.