Tech challenges hit banks, cause anxiety among clients

Wednesday December 16 2020

The mass adoption of digital banking is said to have overwhelmed banking systems. PHOTO | Cyril Ndegeya


The adoption of digital banking as a measure to contain spread of coronavirus has overwhelmed systems, leading to poor services.

At the same a power accident that destroyed the Bank of Kigali (BK) data centre, has caused major technical glitches, leaving some customers unable to make transactions or access their money. 

The costly inconveniences, which have gone on for months, are yet to be fully addressed, as customers take to social media to make complaints, while others silently suffer the costs.

As the country mounted a campaign to control the spread of Covid-19 early the in the year, banks and telcos were obliged to facilitate their customers to transact digitally, even though some banks were ready, some were caught flatfooted.

The banks that were not ready went for swift upgrades, which have taken time to stabilise hence the hiccups.
A power incident that was caused by a short circuit from the air conditioner resulted into the burning of BK’s data centre, bringing the market leaders digital banking system to its knees, where for close to a month customers could not transact digitally.

“It was an accident, we had a power incident from the AC in our data centre, which burned our data centre, causing failures and affecting our customers transactions, we are repairing the damage”, said Diane Karusisi, the BK CEO.


She said “this caused a cost of inconvenience to the customers, where they could not transact using the usual channels, but this cost the bank as well.”

According to those privy to the incident, BK resorted to manual transactions, which came with other inconveniences, because customers accounts had to be momentarily blocked or halted, to avoid double crediting in case the digital system went back to normal functioning, which enraged customers.

“Its been a month of not being able to access my money at BK, I hear the data centre has had issues but I am a victim now, am at a moment where I am stuck and I cannot do anything” said Mr Bukuzagara Ely.

He says their response to his complaints is also not making the matters any better. “I don’t know how to explain it but some Rwandan institutions have an attitude and a certain level of inflexibility in how they react after causing havoc,” said an exasperated Bukuzagara.