DBS uses unconventional video approach to apologise and update consumers around disruption

DBS uses unconventional video approach to apologise and update consumers around disruption

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DBS Singapore has released a video with an update and apology of its service disruption which started 23 November 2021. The video, which was published yesterday on DBS Singapore's social media platforms and website, showed DBS Singapore country head Shee Tse Koon apologising for the disruptions and provide consumers with an update on the situation. 

In the video, Shee said that the disruptions are due to a problem with the bank's access control servers, and the bank has since been working round the clock, together with its third-party engineering providers, to fix the problem. "We acknowledge the gravity of the situation and as we work to resolve matters, we seek your patience and understanding," he said.

Reports of service outages began surging on 23 November at about 10am, 600 outage reports made about DBS on Downdetector by about 2.30pm. Services affected included paynow, eNETS, as well as all functions on DBS' website and Paylah! and digibank apps. 

DBS had posted an update on Twitter the next day, 24 November, that the disruptions have recurred despite restoring its services earlier that morning. The latest update by DBS was at around 10.30pm, informing users that its digital banking services are returning to normal. However, several Twitter users have commented to say that they are still facing difficulties accessing the bank's services.



Though he did not elaborate on the fault in its control servers, Shee added that consumers who need to access its banking services may still do so through directly at DBS branches, or through phone banking. To that end, DBS has also extended its banking services at all branches by two hours.

"I want to assure you that your deposits and monies are safe, and that you can continue with your banking needs either through our branches, or through phone banking. To facilitate this, we've extended banking services at all our branches by two hours. And our relationship managers and call centre customer service officers are on standby to assist you with your urgent banking requests."

Please be rest assured that my colleagues and I are doing all that we can to remedy the situation. Once again, my sincere apologies.

Video message - an unconventional move?

According to PR professionals MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke to, generally video apologies only emerge when a crisis is of a great magnitude. Lars Voedisch, managing director of PRecious Communications  said that given the issue has been around for a few days now and is affecting a large group of customers, with some users still experiencing problems, the brand probably took the stand to “do something different” through video, and show their sincerity in a more personal approach, putting a face to the brand. He added,

Especially in times of crisis it's important that brands don't hide in anonymity with faceless corporate statements.

Another industry professional shared that these personal engagement videos or in person press briefings generally occur when there is a major disaster where human lives are either lost or massively impacted.

“So in that sense, it is a little unconventional. But that being said, if you look at the context of how massive DBS' marketshare is (we all have an account) it makes sense that this kind of disruption, and a somewhat prolonged one at that, demands a bit more than just social media updates,” she added.

At the same time, debunked rumours on Twitter that the disruption was linked to a bond sale by Myanmar’s National Unity Government. "There is no truth to this. DBS has not sold any such bonds,' it said.


In response to DBS' service disruptions,  the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that it will consider appropriate supervisory actions after the bank conducts a thorough investigation to identify the root causes and implement the necessary remedial measures.

According to The Straits Times (ST), MAS regulations state that financial institutions have to ensure that the total unscheduled downtime for critical systems affecting services for customers is no more than four hours within any 12-month period. They are also expected to inform MAS of any incidents affecting the critical systems within an hour of the disruptions. According to BT, regulations by MAS say that financial institutions need to ensure maximum downtime for critical system doesn’t exceed four hours in a 12 month period. The article also said that in 2010, DBS had to set aside SG$230million in regulatory capital after its banking services failed for over six hours.





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