Wells Fargo customers have been unable to access their accounts and, in some cases, haven’t received scheduled direct deposits because of a power outage on Thursday that has continued into Friday morning.
ATM service has been restored and customers can continue using their credit and debit cards, according to a statement the company released on Thursday night, but some online banking features like credit card and mortgage balances are still unavailable. On Twitter, a Wells Fargo spokesperson confirmed that the outage was caused by smoke in a facility and wasn’t the result of “any cybersecurity event.”
Some customers weren’t relieved to hear that the issue was triggered by smoke instead of hackers. “One is being a victim of an attack, the other implies your entire GLOBAL OPERATION goes down cause of one fire in one building,” one customer tweeted.
“We continue to work on restoring all our services as soon as possible, and encourage customers to contact us if they have questions or concerns,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. “We apologize for the inconvenience caused by these system issues, and we want our customers to know that any Wells Fargo fees incurred as a result of these issues will be reversed.”
Other customers have used the outage as an opportunity to point out how arbitrary these fees are. “I’ll accept your apology but please be aware that I charge a banking fee for this type of inconvenience. So Wells Fargo now owes me $150,” said one Twitter user.
As CBS notes, the power outage is the latest in a series of scandals the bank has faced over the past few months. Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $575 million settlement in December after attorneys general in all 50 states and Washington, DC, started investigating allegations of manipulative sales practices and use of fake accounts. Earlier that month, Wells Fargo said an estimated 545 customers had lost their homes, which were mortgaged through the bank, because of a computer glitch. In January, the lender submitted a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission that revealed it had incorrectly denied 870 loan modification requests, leading to hundreds of foreclosures.
This latest issue isn’t the result of any shady banking practices, just the inconvenient presence of smoke in a facility. But as one customer asked on Twitter, if a minor issue in a single location can shut down a bank’s entire system, is it possible that another seemingly minor issue — water, humidity, dust — could shut down other banks’ systems too? Bank of America suffered from a temporary outage in 2017, during which customers weren’t able to access their accounts through the bank’s website or apps. The cause of that outage was unclear, but it appears that banks are increasingly susceptible to seemingly minor issues.
Some customers who have been unable to access their Wells Fargo accounts have threatened to find a new bank. But as the Bank of America outage shows, switching banks may not be enough to prevent this from happening to you again.
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