Online PR Crisis: Bank of America Website Down, no Explanation from the Owner

BANK OF AMERICA WEBSITE

When an institution like the Bank of America has technical problems and its corporate site stays offline without notice, the customers’ concerns flow, and the media has a duty to keep the public informed. The first to report BofA’s problem was Business Insider’s John Carney, who specified in his report that “a tipster speculates that it is possible that Bank of America has been the victim of a cyber-attack.”

Regardless the cause of this malfunction, when a site stays offline a few good hours – especially a site that is basically a portal between consumers and their financial accounts – the owner has the duty and the obligation to release an announcement that explains the issue. On its Twitter account, BofA doesn’t offer explanations, but the following statement:

Yes, we are aware of the issue and our technical team is working to resolve it as soon as possible. Thx for your patience.

Not long ago, the same BofA Twitter team posted the following:

Our website is available. However, some customers are having intermittent issues with access. We are working to determine the root cause.

But the site is not available, as customers continue to ask for support, unable to access the site. The idea that only “some” have difficulties doesn’t fly. None of the above qualify as a reasonable answer that would give users peace of mind. And of course, not all BofA customers would look for answers on Twitter. What happens with the other users, who are still using the old fashioned browser? Even mobile users don’t have it any easier, although some do manage to get trough and access their personal accounts, according to commentators on Business Insider Clusterstock.

Did BofA send a bulk email notification to customers explaining the issue, something in the art “Dear valued customer, we are experiencing a technical difficulty with our website. No reason to worry, your online accounts are safe, etc”? No – we haven’t received anything yet. Even Twitter finds a way to communicate with its users when the site is down, or over capacity.

In the meanwhile, BofA’s customers who want to use their online accounts have no other choice but to wait for the tech team who is “working diligently” to solve the problem.

Bank of America is represented by Emanate,  Weber Shandwick and Burson-Marsteller.

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Comments

  1. Adam says

    Thank you for writing this article. I have been googling about BofA’s site being down and this is the first thing I have seen. As you indicated, not all of us follow our banks via Twitter.

  2. Jones says

    Dammit, I just transferred 3 dollars and I NEED TO SEE IF IT TRANSFERRED!!! MY GOD BOFA, you are the worst!!!

  3. Kevin says

    Um, Mihaela, you say there are “no speculations in this article.”

    Except, of course for the line:

    “a tipster speculates that it is possible that Bank of America has been the victim of a cyber-attack.”

    It’s irresponsible non-sense to report that it’s hacking without some proof other than anonymous source.

    • Mihaela Lica says

      Kevin, that line, in quotation marks, is from the Business Insider article. It is NOT a speculation by our author. Our duty is to report EVERYTHING related to the subject.

  4. Don Stewart, MBCP says

    If anyone knows how to get through to them, have them activate their plan (redirect to an alternate webserver) so we at least get a message and eta while repairs are being made! This is a “disaster event” and like most companies they are spending too much time trying to fix instead of activating the failover plan.

  5. Bob Horn says

    A follow up to my last comment – when I typed the URL from my mobile device into my desktop browser, I was and am able to access the BofA site! In my case, that URL is onlineeast3.bankofamerica.com

    I’m sure that different parts of the country would be different. But it’s clear that their site itself is functioning, just the normal access is not…

  6. Mihaela Lica says

    You know Bob, I am so surprised that the BofA_Help on Twitter didn’t suggest this to the customers who ask for help!

  7. Bob Horn says

    I have been trying to get to Online Banking for three hours, to no avail. Just for fun, I tried on my mobile device and I was able to access the site and all of my accounts and conduct my business. So, if anyone desperately needs to get in, go in via a mobile device – apparently they are directed to a separate server?

  8. Josh says

    I agree. One of the largest financial institutions should give some time of explanation or acknowledgment.

  9. Andrew says

    To speculate that Bank of America has been the victim of a cyber attack does nothing but cuase panic among its members. It is irresponsible to make accusations without confirmation. At this point we can just assume that Bank of America is diagnosing the problem, and will inform everyone when they have an answer.

    • Mihaela Lica says

      Agreed, there are no speculations in this article however. BofA should release a statement to inform its customers. That’s the point. And I doubt they don’t know what caused this issue. They had more than 2 hours for diagnostics already. They do have an answer, what they lack is transparency and common courtesy.

  10. Staci says

    It’s absolutely true that the site has and continues to, be down, all day today. Bank of America is a notorious bully to her clients, and hopefully after this miserable show of customer service – she’ll be experience a much deserved backlash from fed up bankers.

    Not offering explanation of online banking going down on a payday, prior to the first when most bills are due, is the poorest of forms.

    Thank you for this article, as its one of the most thorough of all listed on Google’s new link.

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