Reply to Parliamentary Question on Measures to Protect Bank Customers from Losses and Penalties Suffered Due to Outages of Banks' Online Systems
QUESTION NO 2215
NOTICE PAPER 878 OF 2022
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 11 January 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Joan Pereira, MP, Tanjong Pagar GRC
To ask the Prime Minister what measures are there to assist and protect bank customers from losses and penalties suffered due to outages of licensed banks' online systems.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1 MAS requires financial institutions (FIs) to have robust systems and processes to ensure reliable delivery of services to their customers. In the event of a disruption, FIs are expected to restore the affected system as swiftly as possible and activate contingency measures to ensure continued delivery of financial services in the interim.
2 MAS also expects FIs to have a sound process to deal fairly with appeals from customers who may have suffered penalties or losses arising from a disruption in online banking services, and monitors how FIs handle such appeals.
3 FIs should carefully consider the circumstances of each case, taking into account factors such as the severity and length of the service disruption, the nature of the relevant financial transactions, and whether the customer had taken reasonable steps to access the alternative transaction channels that were available. For example, if a credit card repayment to the bank was late because of a disruption, the consequent penalties should be waived by the bank. Depending on the circumstances, there may also be grounds for compensation for losses arising directly from the disruption.
4 With the delivery of financial services becoming increasingly digital, MAS has been reminding FIs to pay even more attention to ensuring their systems are resilient. But it is not possible to rule out all disruptions in the online space. Consumers who need to make time-critical payments regularly may want to consider maintaining accounts at more than one FI to facilitate such payments when systems are disrupted.