Last week was a scary one for the web, as big news companies like the The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT), The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) and The Wall Street Journal reported their sites being breached by Chinese hackers. So when the Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) website went down last Friday, nerves were already raw. Happily, though, the problem rested with the big bank itself, whose online and mobile banking apps -- and even their telephone service -- suffered an outage of approximately 10 hours.
Whew. After terrorists disrupted cyber service at big banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) last fall, you would think that everyone, particularly the bank's customers, would be relieved that it was only a wonky technical issue.
It seemed, however, that this was one outage too many for those who bank with the big guy, and a chorus of customer complaints and analysts criticisms ensued. They've got a point: B of A seems to have more numerous and long-lasting outages than other banks, and it's getting on customers' nerves. So much so, in fact, that it may be putting the bank's newly minted customer-service facelift in jeopardy.
An ongoing problem Excluding bona fide hacking incidents, B of A has a long history of website blackouts, so it's not surprising that anger is beginning to swell. I did a little digging and came up with some very disturbing numbers for online problems at Bank of America from SiteDown.co.
Scrolling through various websites shows that big banks have boatloads of issues when it comes to web availability for their customers. Wells Fargo has over 3,300 reports of site outages, JPMorgan's Chase site registers nearly 2,100, and Citi has an excess of 1,500 complaints. And Bank of America? A stunning 9,400 outage reports. Is this any way to run an upwardly mobile banking business? Even keeping in mind that these are voluntary, often anonymous reports over time, there is very clearly something wrong with B of A's system, and it's definitely not getting any better.
Excessive outages need to be addressed Indeed, as customers took to Twitter and other outlets to vent their frustration, analysts weighed in on how the big bank needs to get its act together. Considering the amount of money that B of A has invested in its mobile and online banking sectors -- over $500 million since 2008 -- some critics find it outrageous that the bank has no backup for the times when the system is down, leaving over 12 million customers in the dark.