UPDATE: Banks hit with computer glitches

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and TD Bank Financial Group were both hit with unidentified computer glitches, according to news reports Thursday morning, causing disruption to some customer accounts and online banking.

About 60,000 personal lines of credit accounts at the CIBC were affected by a system error on Thursday, that caused a double-dipping effect to take place on customer accounts and also caused some problems with online banking systems.

All computer systems responsible for processing customer transactions are now operating normally, according to a statement released by CIBC late Thursday morning, and the bank is now working to reverse a number of erroneous transactions that occurred for some customers with personal lines of credit.

Bank withdrawals, deposits, money transfers and debit payments were being doubled in some of the line of credit accounts at the CIBC. So, for example, if a customer took out $20 from his or her account, it would appear twice on the transaction record, totaling $40.

CIBC has more than nine million retail banking customers in Canada. Less than one per cent were affected by this error, CIBC said.

The bank said it intends to reverse the incorrect transactions as quickly as possible and in the meantime it would ensure that affected customers do not experience any difficulties due to insufficient funds or other charges that might occur as a result of the error. Any such charges would be reversed.

Explanations or details of the system errors were not available.

Another problem, related to online banking, is being tied to President’s Choice Financial. Details of those problems are not known at this time. Spokespeople from CIBC were not able to return phone calls to IT World Canada before the morning deadline.

In related news, Wednesday night at around 6 p.m. TD Bank Financial Group also had some technical difficulties, experiencing what it called “a temporary system malfunction.”

“We are up and running and everything is fine,” said Christa Poole, a spokesperson for TD Bank Financial Group. “The money was always safe and secure.”

The specifics of the “technical problem” is still not known by the bank, but Poole said it is investigating what caused its online system, called EasyWeb, to be unavailable for several hours last night.

“Customers who logged onto the site got a message saying the service wasn’t available,” Poole said. “Customers accounts were not affected.”

Downtime on account access was also happening at Automated Banking Machines (ABMs), Poole said. Customers who inserted their banking cards into ABMs got an error message explaining that the machines were temporarily out of service.

Everything is back to normal today, she added.

Earlier this summer, the Royal Bank of Canada had a public relations nightmare when it announced what it called a “processing glitch,” discovered during a routine programming update to one of its computer systems.

The problem resulted in many client transactions — including deposits, withdrawals and payments made on May 31 and June 1 — not being reflected in clients’ account balances. The error was eventually ironed out, however several delays hampered the repair effort.

A delay in payroll was another effect of RBC computing issues. Approximately 62,000 full-time employees of the Province of Ontario, for example, were affected by RBC’s processing glitch.

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