Wells Fargo Reticence Shrouds ATM Outage In Mystery

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

A major US ATM network was out of service earlier this week when a part of Wells Fargo’s ATM network went down at 2:54 Monday morning and the outage extended through Monday evening. The outage affected approximately 9,600 of Wells Fargo’s 12,000 ATMs.

The San Francisco-based bank stayed largely mum on the nationwide outage, which was unusually long in both its duration and scope. Thousands of Wells Fargo customers were unable to get their cash until the automated teller machines were fixed late Monday evening.

It’s unclear exactly what happened. The bank would say only that the outage was caused by “an internal systems issue” and was not related to an external cyber attack or a security breach.

However, Wells Fargo’s silence did not keep many in the bank technology world from speculating on the possible causes. One popular theory is that the ATM network crashed as Wells Fargo was trying to upgrade its system to protect against a cyber attack. The bank regularly updates the encryption codes in its ATMs to prevent hackers from stealing the personal identification numbers (PINS) that people enter into the machines, say people who work closely with the bank.

Every bank makes system changes with extreme caution, and I’ve personally experienced the rigorous procedures used by Wells for installing system changes, The lesson here is not to reduce the chance of an error to zero – because you can’t. The lesson is that when you have a failure, you must communicate with your customers about what they need to do to get the service they require. Traditional broadcast news outlets can be used. Social media (Twitter and Facebook), e-mails, and mobile alerts are fast becoming the communication pathways to instantly alert customers. The true measure of customer service is not zero mistakes; the measure is what you do when a mistake is made. Keeping quiet rarely works.

For more information read the story Minneapolis Star Tribune: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/news/stock-alert/wfc_wells-fargo-reticence-shrouds-atm-outage-in-mystery-1480512.html

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