The day started like any other day. Then one after the other, GTBank customers found out they could not login via web or mobile to access their accounts. Most shrugged it off as a brief network error that would soon go away. But hours later and several failed login attempts recorded, and customers began to feel the heat. What would turn out to be a day-long electronic banking failure was in progress. The orange eclipse was happening.
Incoming transfers from other banks into GTBank accounts failed to arrive. Electronic login attempts to GTBank accounts continued to fail. For many long hours on Wednesday 4th of October, 2017, GTBank electronic banking went dark.
The complaints and stories filtered in slowly at first, but quickly became a flood. Some of the stories are as interesting as they are tragic. One man walked into an eatery to have a meal and then found out he could not pay with his card. He had no cash on him. Stranded. Eclipsed.
Professionals and artisans who were sent money by online transfer to their GTBank accounts spent the whole day waiting for the cash to arrive. They mostly waited in vain. It was an electronic banking failure of monumental proportions.
Another frustrated GTBank customer eventually walked into another bank to open an alternative account. He shared this in a tweet:
I suffered! Couldn't buy fuel. Had to take cash from a friend. So mad, I walked into another bank and got a new account. https://t.co/6XDAfrm2QG
— Greg (@TheEnogie) October 4, 2017
The situation was this bad because the bank in question has the largest number of electronic banking customers in Nigeria. As such, the eclipse felt like a total lock-down on electronic transactions. Whether this disruption affected all users of GTBank’s electronic platform or not is yet to be ascertained. But we do know it was very widespread.
By afternoon, the bank sent out a notice to say they were carrying out “remedial services” on their banking channels. Perhaps that notice should have been sent much earlier, especially as this eclipse happened during work hours. Or perhaps they sent them as soon as they could. After all, “remedial services” could include an emergency server issue.
Eventually, the situation began to ease up late in the day and some transactions began to go through. But even as late as midnight and up till the early hours of the 5th, customers still faced issues, including delayed electronic transactions.
All is well now, hopefully. The storm is past. The darkness has given way to the orange glow of the rising sun. As at the morning of the following day, GTBank had sent out apologies by SMS. But Wednesday 4th of October, 2017 will not be forgotten in a hurry by customers of Guaranty Trust Bank in Nigeria.