The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank by market value, apologized to its customers Sunday for a paralysis of service in some areas in the country.
On Sunday morning, many ICBC clients in areas including Beijing, Shanghai and Southwest China's Sichuan Province complained online that they were unable to get cash from ICBC ATMs, and that their efforts to access ICBC services such as telephone and Internet banking had all failed.
The massive banking system paralysis aroused concerns over the bank's liquidity. Some Internet users said they wondered if ICBC lacked money, due to a recently reported sharp reduction in the flow of credit between banks, which had pushed up the cost of interbank loans.
Some even speculated that Internet hackers could be attacking ICBC's banking system, leading customers to worry about the safety of their money.
In response to customers' questions, ICBC announced at noon on its official Sina Weibo account that the bank was working on upgrading its computer system, which made its services "progress slowly" between 10:38 am and 11:23 am Sunday.
"Now the system has recovered, and all services can be provided normally. ICBC apologizes for any inconvenience caused to clients," the statement read.
The statement did not quiet all the online critics, some of whom said that they found ICBC's apology unsatisfactory because the bank should have notified clients in advance, and should have upgraded the banking system at night.
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