Following an outage to some of NAB’s services, including ATMs, EFTPOS, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking, Cindy Batchelor, Executive General Manager, NAB Business, spoke to journalists.
Cindy Batchelor: I want to apologise to all of our customers who were impacted by the outage today. We really want to ensure that we provide a reliable service to you, and today we failed to do that. For that, we are sincerely sorry.
Journalist: In as simple language as we can, what went wrong?
Cindy: So, we had a series of failures today, that emanated from a power issue and it isolated our mainframe. It’s an incredibly rare event, but what it did is it took a number of hours for our technicians to be able to bring our systems back up.
Journalist: So, is this human error?
Cindy: No, it was actually a systems failure. So, as I said, it was a power issue. So when the power goes into the systems, there was a disconnect there that impacted a number of our systems, which provide services to our customers.
Journalist: Did that happen in Victoria or New South Wales?
Cindy: It was a nationwide impact.
Journalist: But the fault was in Melbourne?
Cindy: The actual mainframe is located in Melbourne, yes.
Journalist: Any idea on the number of customers affected?
Cindy: No, we don’t know as yet. Today’s focus was really on restoring service. We wanted to make sure that we focussed on getting the systems back up as fast as possible. We’ve had our branches on standby, we’ve also had our call centres taking calls from customers – but we don’t know the extent of the impact as yet.
Journalist: Has any personal data being compromised?
Cindy: No personal data has been compromised. As I said, it was a systems failure that has caused our systems to go down.
Journalist: What time did this start this morning?
Cindy: It started at about 7:50am, and we started to restore services by about midday. And by 2:30 all of our systems were back up and running.
Journalist: Were you concerned this morning that it could have possibly been an outside hack?
Cindy: No. We didn’t jump to conclusions. With all of these things, we worked through systematically what the root cause of the problem was. So we had our technicians on it from the time we found out there was an outage and we made sure that we continued to work that through as each hour progressed.
Journalist: [indistinct]… one fault can have such widespread consequences across all platforms across the country. Does that highlight security concerns?
Cindy: Not a security concern. Again, you’ve got to try and get to the root cause of the problem. So, for us we started where we thought the failure was – we worked that through – but it was a series of failures, caused by a power issue that then brought down the mainframe.
Journalist: Will there be any compensation for customers affected? We’ve heard business owners have lost thousands of dollars because of what happened this morning. Will there be any compensation?
Cindy: Every customer has the opportunity to come and talk to us about the impact they’ve had specifically on their business. And our intention is to work with each and every one of them to make sure they have no financial loss associated with the outage today.
Journalist: Is that a yes.
Cindy: Yes, absolutely.
Journalist: Will NAB be compensating customers for their losses this morning.
Cindy: Absolutely. So if there was a loss this morning driven by the outage today, yes compensation will be provided to customers. So we’ll work with each and every one of them to understand exactly what happened to that particular customer.
Journalist: Is this the biggest outage that NAB has ever had?
Cindy: I can’t tell you the size of the outage. As I said before, we still don’t know the number of customers that are impacted. We’ve had an outage in terms of time – we know that that looks like. But we don’t know the extent of the impact on individual customers at this time.
Journalist: Has there ever been an outage that’s lasted six hours?
Cindy: We’ve had a number of outages over time. I can’t go back in history and recall all of them. But, our intention always is to restore services as fast as we can so that our customers are minimally impacted – and that’s what we did today.
Journalist: Why was it down for that amount of time?
Cindy: It was a series of failures – as I said – that was driven by a power issue and it took our technicians a number of hours to actually get underneath what the issue was and then start to restore services one-by-one.
Journalist: On the question of compensation, if a customer can prove they lost a certain amount, will they get 100% of their losses back – or just a portion?
Cindy: We have a part of NAB called NAB Resolve that works with each of our customers to really understand exactly what their losses are – so yeah, we would want out customers to come forward and provide us with the facts. If they don’t have that information, we will actually work with them to estimate what their losses might have been.
Journalist: But the compensation, will you give 100% of the losses?
Cindy: Oh absolutely. If the customer is impacted, our intention is to compensate them for their loss.
Journalist: So what are the steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
Cindy: Every single day we work on our technology to ensure we can provide reliability to our customers. So, we’ll get underneath root cause. There is always a review of an incident like this – but as I said, every single day, we strive to provide that reliability and we will continue to do that.
Journalist: Some customers said they were on hold for hours and hours – do you think that’s something that needs to be addressed so customers can have a clearer idea on what’s going on.
Cindy: Our contact centres were impacted today too, because we’ve got telephone systems that are actually impacted when these types of things happen. So again, we apologise for the amount of time our customers had to stay on the line. And for those that hung up, and didn’t actually stick with us because it was lengthy delays for them – what we want to ensure is to keep our customers informed – so we use social media – we use internet – we want to make sure we keep them abreast of what’s going on – and we’ll continue do that. So, as we find out more information, and as we get questions from customers, we’ll also provide that information to them.
Journalist: What happened to some of those customers? Were they shopping? In taxis? Can you explain the difficulty they went through and what the outcome is?
Cindy: It was incredibly challenging and they were unable to use the services provided by NAB that they should be able to rely upon – so they weren’t able to use EFTPOS terminals or internet banking or ATMs. So that’s had an incredible impact on our customers and for that we’re incredibly sorry and it’s not something that we’re proud of. Today we failed to actually deliver the services we aspire to deliver to our customers.