DBS Building

SINGAPORE: On Wednesday, Nov 1, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ordered a six-month pause on DBS bank from making non-essential IT changes. This move comes after DBS Bank faced multiple digital service disruptions this year.

According to MAS, “DBS Bank will not be allowed to acquire new business ventures during this period or reduce the size of its branch and ATM networks in Singapore. The actions were taken following the repeated and prolonged disruptions of DBS’ banking services this year.”

In April 2023, MAS told DBS Bank to get an independent review of its digital services. The review found problems in four key areas: system resilience, incident management, change management, and technology risk oversight.

DBS Bank responded by making a plan to fix these issues and strengthen its digital infrastructure. The plan is being rolled out in phases, with some parts taking more time.

MAS has reviewed the plan and is satisfied with its scope. They’ve also told DBS Bank to halt all IT changes, except those related to security and compliance, for six months. This is to ensure the bank focuses on improving its technology risk management. During this period, no new business ventures are allowed.

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MAS has also instructed DBS Bank not to reduce the number of branches and ATMs. This is to ensure there are backup options for customers in case of more disruptions. This direction will stay in place until MAS is happy with DBS Bank’s progress.

MAS will assess DBS Bank’s progress after six months. Depending on the results, they may extend these measures or take more action. In the meantime, the extra capital requirement imposed after incidents in March and May 2023 will stay.

DBS Bank estimates it will take about two years to fully enhance its digital services’ resilience. During this period, there may still be disruptions. In such cases, MAS expects DBS Bank to quickly fix the issues and inform customers promptly.

MAS Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision) Ms Ho Hern Shin said, “DBS must put in place immediate measures to ensure service reliability while it continues to invest in the longer-term efforts to bolster its operational resilience. We have imposed this six-month pause on the bank to give it the space to take the actions needed to maintain customer trust.”