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HDFC Bank Outage: RBI Restricts HDFC From Issuing New Credit Cards

HDFC Bank Outage: RBI Restricts HDFC From Issuing New Credit Cards

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reportedly asked HDFC Bank to not add new credit card customers while also barring launches of new digital and other activities in the bank. This comes after HDFC faced multiple outages in its electronic banking services. The RBI has further asked the board of HDFC to conduct an examination of the lapses and fix the issues. 

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HDFC is India’s largest private bank and hence the RBI order came as a bit of a surprise to some. HDFC Bank informed the stock market on December 2 that the RBI order was a result of the outages faced in the bank’s mobile banking, payments, and internet banking facilities over the last two years.

HDFC’s most recent outage occurred on November 21 which restricted several customers from accessing digital banking services. However, HDFC blamed this on a power failure at its primary data centre. 

“The RBI vide said Order has advised the Bank to temporarily stop i) all launches of the digital business generating activities planned under its program ‐ Digital 2.0 (to be launched) and other proposed business generating IT applications and (ii) sourcing of new credit card customers. In addition, the order states that the Bank’s Board examines the lapses and fixes accountability,” the bank said in a letter sent to the stock exchanges.

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Though HDFC may have brushed this aside as a one-off incident, customers have long been raising their complaints on social media platforms. Other issues faced by the customers include a delay in receiving OTPs or one-time passwords as well as authorization of transactions. 

It’s worth mentioning that this is the first time that the RBI has taken a big step such as this against a private bank. The issue is particularly concerning for HDFC given that it sees more than 90 per cent of its transactions via digital or non-branch related channels. 

Meanwhile, HDFC issued a statement saying that it has taken multiple steps to strengthen its IT systems and will continue to work with RBI to rectify any issues. “The bank has endeavoured to provide seamless banking services to its customers. The bank has been taking conscious, concrete steps to remedy the recent outages on its digital banking channels and assures its customers that it expects the current supervisory actions will have no impact on its existing credit cards, digital banking channels and existing operations. The bank believes that these measures will not materially impact its overall business,” the bank’s statement read. 

In July 2020, the Group Head of IT and CIO at HDFC, Munish Mittal resigned and the company named Ramesh Lakshminarayanan as its new CIO.

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