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MAS lifts six-month IT ban on DBS

MAS lifts six-month IT ban on DBS

Singapore's central bank has lifted restrictions on non-essential IT services imposed on DBS Bank in the wake of a series of disruptive outages that hit the bank's payments and ATM services last year.

In May last year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) imposed additional capital requirements on DBS, following widespread outages  and a subsequent disruption to its digital banking and ATM services two months later. The bank was further reprimanded in November following a data centre meltdown that hit online and payment services.

A six-month hiatus on non-essential IT services was subsequently imposed in November following an independent investigation into the March 2023 downtime which identified shortcomings in system resilience, incident management, change management and technology risk governance and oversight.

In a statement announcing the lifting of restrictions. MAS says: "The six-month pause on DBS Bank’s non-essential activities was to ensure that the bank kept a sharp focus on restoring the resilience of its digital banking services. While full implementation of the remediation plan is still ongoing, MAS notes that DBS Bank has made substantive progress to address the shortcomings identified from service disruptions experienced by its customers in 2023. Improvements have been made to its technology risk governance, system resilience, change management, and incident management."

The remediation by DBS Bank will continue with some longer-term measures still being worked on, such as the continued simplification and strengthening of the bank’s systems architecture.

Wary of any further disruptions, MAS says a capital multiplier of 1.8 times to DBS Bank’s risk weighted assets for operational risk will be retained

"In the event of service disruptions, MAS expects DBS Bank to promptly recover its services and communicate to its customers in a clear and timely manner," says the central bank. "The multiplier of 1.8 times will be lifted when MAS is satisfied that DBS Bank has demonstrated the ability to maintain service availability and reliability, and handle any disruptions effectively."

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