Banks must have roll-back program for upgrade glitches

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - April 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has directed banks undertaking major system enhancements and upgrades to formulate and implement sound and effective change management processes to prevent disruption.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) which are undertaking system upgrades should comply with Circular 808 issued in 2013.

“The BSP wishes to remind all BSFIs that are undertaking or will undertake major system enhancements or upgrades to formulate and implement sound and effective change management processes to ensure the integrity and reliability of their production environment,” Fonacier said.

Fonacier said banks should institute appropriate controls across all facets of system modification process and conduct sufficient testing prior to implementation.

“Moreover, a roll-back program should be in place to ensure that they can reinstate the original programs, system configuration or data in the event of production release problem. Such measure may likewise minimize the possibility of system disruption,” the BSP official said.

Philippine banks continue to upgrade their respective systems to service their clients better.

However, Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) came under fire anew last week for a major disruption after depositors were not able to do any financial transactions via BPI’s financial channels until April 11.

BPI implemented a scheduled systems upgrade affecting ATM withdrawals, online bills payment, cash deposit via ATMs, and fund transfers from 10 pm of April 5 to 5 am of April 7.

In an advisory issued Friday afternoon, BPI said all its banking channels are now available for financial transactions.

The BSP closely coordinated with BPI to ensure that their remediation efforts are on track to restore service levels to clients.

“The BSP is aware of the post migration challenges encountered by BPI after the recent upgrade of its core banking system,” the central bank said in a statement earlier.

In 2018, BPI suffered after a major glitch caused by internal programming error paralyzed the bank’s operations nationwide for several days.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives launched an inquiry into the incident wherein a programmer of the listed bank committed an error in judgment that resulted in the internal data processing error wherein incorrect balances were reflected in the accounts of depositors.

Meanwhile, BDO Unibank Inc. said in an advisory it is embarking on the next phase of a series of upgrades during the Holy Week from April 19 to 20.

 “Following last month’s successful implementation of key improvements involving its electronic banking services, BDO Unibank will launch the next phase of its system upgrade this coming Holy Week,” BDO said.

BDO said its automated teller machines (ATMs), mobile and online banking as well as debit and cash card transactions would be temporarily inaccessible to clients starting 8pm on April 19 (Good Friday) to 12 noon on April 20 (Black Saturday).

BDO branches, meanwhile, are closed from April 18 (Maundy Thursday) to April 21 (Easter Sunday) in observance of the Holy Week.

“We are advising our clients and the general public to perform their banking transactions ahead of this scheduled activity to avoid any inconvenience,” BDO said.

Once completed, BDO said the system improvement would help BDO provide better service to its growing number of clients and offer banking convenience to even more Filipinos.

BDO has the country’s largest distribution network, with more than 1,300 consolidated operating branches and over 4,000 ATMs nationwide. It has full-service branches in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as 22 overseas remittance and representative offices in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

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