Online banking outages at the $1.6 billion Orlando, Fla.-based Fairwinds Credit Union were so bad this winter, on Feb. 13 CEO Larry Tobin wrote in an email to members that the service disruptions were “unacceptable.”
“FAIRWINDS is responsible for the level of service you receive. Frankly speaking, we owe you better service,” he wrote.
Tobin readily assigned blame for the outages: Digital Insight.
Formerly owned by software company Intuit, the California-based Digital Insight was sold in January to Georgia-based ATM maker NCR, after private equity investors who had bought the business from Intuit flipped it after just a few months.
The past year apparently has been rough for many DI customers, which include hundreds of credit unions.
In February, an outage that lasted for hours affected hundreds of DI customers according to a spokeswoman. Other sources claimed all DI customers lost service that day.
At Fairwinds, the outages have triggered many angry posts to the institution’s Facebook page.
On Feb. 11, Eric King succinctly posted: “Annnnnnnnnd … down again.”
Rose Lejiste posted on Feb. 21, “Down again??! What is going on over there? This is like the umpteenth time in the last week. Is it server issues? This is getting to be so annoying.”
On Feb. 6, the credit union itself posted to Facebook.
“We are currently experiencing a service disruption within FAIRWINDS Online. We have identified the source of the disruption and are working to correct this as quickly as possible. We will keep you posted and thank you for your patience,” the post said.
The credit union posted similar messages on many other days in the past month, signaling that the outages were recurrent.
In an interview, Dion Shelton, director, Digital Insight Operations, indicated that the cause of that big February outage was component failure at a data center hosted by former parent company Intuit.
At press time, Intuit had not responded to a request for comment.
Shelton added that in the works was a move of the Digital Insight data into a new data center owned by parent NCR. He said location would be “outfitted with the latest and greatest technologies.”
Shelton cautioned that that migration had not yet begun and he put no timeframe on the move.
“We are working to get out of the Inuit data center as quickly as possible but no date has been set,” he said.
Shelton said in the meantime Digital Insight is working closely with Intuit to mitigate any further issues.
At least one media report had blamed the outages on issues arising during a migration of Digital Insight data out of the Intuit data center, but Digital Insight said that migration has not yet begun.
The issues experienced by some credit unions in the winter had nothing to do with any migration, said the company’s spokespeople.
Questions remain about how wide and deep the outages were. In an interview, Digital Insight executives acknowledged that many institutions had been impacted, at various times, but no quantification was provided.
An executive at an affected credit union who asked not to be named said ever since Intuit sold Digital Insight last year, his institution has had about three dozen outage incidents with a resulting downtime of more than 100 hours.
“Some outages were as long as five hours,” he said.
When asked for comment on that particular complaint, Digital Insight declined.
At Fairwinds, executive vice president Charlie Lai expressed frustration with the credit union’s recent experience with Digital Insight.
“We have to offer quality services to our members. The DI track record with us has not been what we expected,” he said.
Lai nonetheless expressed optimism about the future.
“We are an NCR shop. We have a long and rich history with them, and Digital Insight now is saying all the right things,” he said.
Lai added that when Digital Insight works, it’s great. The frequency in which it doesn’t work is the issue, he said.