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'I'm sick about it': Vancity says outage due to several system 'half-failures'

Last Updated Oct 6, 2018 at 7:00 pm PDT

(Lauren Boothby, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Vancity issues have been fixed, but there's still no word on what exactly caused the online banking system outage

It may take some time to get everything back online, but issues causing outages for Vancity members have been fixed

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s back up and running now, but for three days members of Vancity did not have any access to online banking services due to some sort of system issue.

It’s unclear what exactly caused the outage, but Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman says it comes down to several ‘half-failures’ in the credit union’s systems.

While it still may not be clear to many what that exactly means, Vrooman assures it was not related to a hack.

“We have our own security protocols, certainly, and they were active throughout,” she said Saturday afternoon. “We also brought in an international firm that specializes in IT security and privacy breaches and had them do a full diagnostic to determine that there was no security or privacy breach.”

She adds the issue was never related to the safety of members’ deposits or funds, but rather was just related to their ability to see what was happening in their accounts.

“So I can verify that there has never been an issue of the transactions not being there.”

Meantime, Vancity says it is addressing concerns about missed bill payments and interest charges by ensuring members won’t be slapped with extra fees.

“There is never a good time for something like this to happen and we know that members have been hugely inconvenienced and we absolutely apologize for that and we’re accountable for that,” she said. “We will make sure to cover any costs that members have incurred.”

Vrooman adds Vancity has reached out to Trans Union as well as Equifax to ensure this outage will not impact anyone’s credit score. She says the credit union has also reached out to major utilities, like B.C. Hydro and Telus, to ask that penalties are not applied to anyone impacted.

Jason Ross, a 20-year customer with the credit union, finds it hard to believe the outage was not security related, given the severity and length of it. He says he is considering switching banking services.

“I think there’s been a major security breach,” he says. “This sort of thing does not happen in the banking industry and there is something very wrong here.”

He also says that outages or disruptions with Vancity’s services happen as often as once a month, adding to his frustration with the current troubles.

“I actually went to a gas station to try and purchase gas, my card would not work,” Ross recalls. “I ended putting it on credit, so there are other issues with them.”

Branches were open until 3 p.m. Saturday.

“No body is more upset at this outage and the trust breach that it has had with our members than me,” Vrooman said. “I’m sick about it. I know that members have been inconvenienced, and I sincerely apologize for that, but we’re going to make it right.”