Thursday, January 12, 2012

Damn Bloody Slow Bank

When OCBC's ATM banking services were down on 13 Sept 2011, CEO Chris David Conner promptly messaged an apology to all its customers before the day was over. But it took DBS Group Holdings chief executive Piyush Gupta nearly a week before he apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused by their recent ATM scam.

At last count, a total of some 400 POSB and DBS customers holding ATM and debit cards have had about S$500,000 fraudulently withdrawn from their accounts over Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th Jan 2012. Gupta made his apology only on Wednesday 11 Jan at an exclusive DBS private bank luncheon at posh Shangri-La Hotel. For those not on DBS's private banking list, one presumes he won't give a hoot about them lesser mortals.

Gupta claims the unauthorised ATM withdrawals were done through a card skimming scheme by a syndicate that can happen to any bank. Well, if it does happen to another bank, the apology probably won't take that long to come through. And it probably will be addressed to all customers, not just the champagne circuit crowd.

The real embarrassment was that Gupta had boasted about IT technology progress during his tenure at DBS in a 4th Jan Straits Times spread, the very day the scam was hitting the ATMs. The operation took place despite all DBS ATMs were fitted with anti-skimming devices 6 years ago. And the ATMs are supposedly checked regularly by security staff whenever they replenish the money in the machines. In the article, Gupta claimed that the large scale IT failure in 2010 motivated him to accelerate the "scaling up the bank's resiliency programmes" from two years to one year. Didn't quite work out as he planned, did it? Perhaps he is just another foreign import who places priority on profits over maintenance and security of systems.

What else can DBS say? "We continue to keep up with the latest in technology to see how we can continually enhance our security," managing director and head of group strategic marketing and communications Ms Ngui told the press. They'll probably get their act together one day, it's just that they are still Damn Bloody Slow.


  1. Right, and can give comments on the former OUB CEO lah.

  2. So many IT glicthes for the past year, wonder if the large influx of IT ft contribute to that ? Just thinking out loud, not all FT are not qualified but with the employment criteria in the name of cost saving, not sure about the quality of the ft ...

    Seems blunders are surfacing everyday. What is happening, we are fast losing our good name !

  3. I guess the IT upgrades were focused more on churning reports on the usage to determine which ATM can be removed, how much on average customer draw so that they can set a minimum sum for withdrawals etc, but hardly to address the needs of their customers.

  4. Agree with your blog about DBS.

    But I have to admit I still feel safer with a CEO with a background in commercial bank running DBS (and more importantly POSB) than;
    a) a retired admiral or general
    b) a former investment banker (think mini-bonds)
    c) a doctor or eye surgeon

    Best way to fix all our problems though is still to vote wisely in GE 2016.

  5. Just to add to that : DBS = Damn Bloody Slow " bit. I personally wrote a letter once decades back to DBS thelling them in passing that DBS meant "Damn Bloody Slow" & " Damn Bloody Stupid" among some of us ! No bull !

  6. The best part of it must be when some Senior DBS Bank Manager retorted last week what is a loss of S$500K compared to the billions the bank is earning annually, sounding so similar to what that Mrs Peanuts had said during the TT Durai scandal.

    He must have forgotten that the money did not belong to him but to his bosses, I mean the Bank's shareholders. Did DBS Bank employed an idiot as a manager ? What a joke !

  7. You have to understand because this is government-owned, so inevitably, it is bureaucratic. Therefore it has to be damn bloody slow bank. But the interesting question is will it be a bloody slow bank for those thieves who steal others ATM card numbers to withdraw money.Day by day, something that is linked to government is showing some problems.

    What Is The Bloody Problem Up There?

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