Sonali Bank’s IT systems still down, Intellect’s core banking system stopped due to technical fault

Dhaka, Bangladesh / © Wikipedia

Dhaka, Bangladesh / © Wikipedia

Bangladesh-based Sonali Bank is the midst of a three-day IT system failure, with Intellect Design Arena’s core banking system stopped due to a technical fault.

According to one of Bangladesh’s national newspapers, The Daily Star, thousands of customers have been unable to make any online transactions or use ATMs for the past three days.

‘The bank’s core banking software [provided by Intellect] has temporarily been stopped in the wake of technical faults,’ an unnamed senior official at the bank told the newspaper.

Customers in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, branded Sonali’s systems as ‘useless’.

There were also angry scenes at some branches outside Dhaka, an official at the bank’s head office told The Daily Star.

Sonali Bank, which is the country’s largest state-owned bank, was only able to cash out cheques, while online cash transfers, debit card and ATM services remain suspended.

The bank has 1,205 branches across the country, of which 502 branches run on the Intellect Suite, meaning that transactions were not possible at these branches due to the technical faults.

Mofazzal Hossain, Sonali Bank’s general manager, PR, says the problems will be resolved today (6th January).

Intellect responds

On 7th January, Padmini Sharatkumar, EVP and global head – marketing and communication at Intellect, contacted IBS Journal in light of the issues.

He says: ‘This is an “infrastructure” issue and not an Intellect core banking technology issue.’

IBS Journal has contacted Sonali Bank to clarify the situation again and awaits a response.

Five years ago

Back in 2011, India-based banking software provider, Intellect Design Arena (called Polaris at the time), signed three core banking system deals in Bangladesh as part of a joint venture (JV) agreement with domestic banks.

The agreements were signed with Sonali Bank, Bangladesh Commercial Bank Limited (BCBL), and a regional agricultural bank, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank.

As part of the deal, the main condition for new shareholders was to sign for Intellect’s core banking system, which the JV sold, implemented and supported in Bangladesh.

Sonali Bank replaced its four legacy solutions developed by four different vendors in Bangladesh with a centralised version of Intellect Suite (however, less than half of the bank’s branch network has been centralised on the new system to date). The system went live in 2013. The bank also implemented Intellect suite in its subsidiary in the UK, Sonali Bank (UK) Ltd.

By Antony Peyton.

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