RBI bars HDFC Financial institution from issuing new bank cards

Mumbai/Delhi, December 3

In an unprecedented move, the RBI has temporarily barred HDFC Bank from launching digital banking initiatives and issuing new credit cards after taking a serious view of service outages at the country’s largest private sector lender over the past two years.

No impact on existing users

  • HDFC Bank is the largest issuer of credit cards and had 1.49 crore customers as of September this year while on the debit cards front, it had 3.38 crore customers
  • An HDFC Bank official said existing users will be able to continue using the services and added that security-related updates for mobile banking apps will be the only addition allowed till the RBI order is in force.

The RBI’s order came on Wednesday, days after the last instance of service outage across its digital banking channels, including internet banking, mobile banking and other payments. The outage, which happened on November 21, had severely inconvenienced customers, the bank informed the exchanges on Thursday.

In December 2018, the bank’s new mobile application crashed within hours of its launch in what was attributed to the inability of the servers to handle the heightened traffic. Exactly a year later, its online channels were down during the salary time. After the second incident, the RBI had said it was looking into the glitches.

On Thursday, HDFC Bank said the latest incident on November 21 was a result of a power failure in its primary data centre.

“The RBI has advised the bank to temporarily stop all launches of the digital business generating activities planned under its programme — Digital 2.0 (to be launched) and other proposed business generating IT applications, and sourcing of new credit card customers,” the bank informed the stock exchanges in a filing.

HDFC Bank’s MD & CEO Shashidhar Jagdishan on Thursday apologised to customers for not living up to their expectations at times.

The central bank has also asked the bank to ensure that its Board “examines the lapses and fixes accountability”. — PTI

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