Business

First Global fixes technical issue with online banking, turns platform back on

Wednesday, May 14, 2014    

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FIRST Global Bank (FBG) on Monday switched its online banking platform back on after pulling it offline for a "few days".

The bank spotted a technical issue on the platform and decided to take it offline.

"We were offline to customers for a couple of days," confirmed FGB President Maureen Hayden-Cater in a Jamaica Observer interview on Monday. "All functionalities of the bank are back up for customers."

During that period, customers were required to enter the bank's branch network to conduct certain business transactions. The bank indicated that it addressed the error.

"We know what went wrong and we fixed it and are taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen again,"

she added.

During 2013, First Global Group completed the implementation of a US$6-million investment in a new banking solution, which became active in January 2014.

"First Global Financial Services started using the system at the start of 2013 and has begun to reap the rewards. This system will further provide agility to the IT division and improve business process management capabilities," stated the GraceKennedy annual report 2013 about the system dubbed Global Access 2.0.

FGB is a wholly owned subsidiary of the GraceKennedy. FGB initially launched Global Access (1.0) in March 2010, indicating that it would eliminate bank lines and allow customers the convenience of completing cutting-edge transactions.

The platform allows retail customers to make transfers within the FBG group and across other financial institutions. Hitherto this feature was available only to corporate customers of certain banks.

Global Access also offers international funds transfer and cross-currency transfers between accounts. Customers can transfer Jamaican dollar funds into their US dollar and other currency accounts and to those of family, friends and business associates.

The system also reportedly provides for online cheque and draft ordering which facilitates pick-up at any branch of FGB or delivery to the account holder.

At the launch of the platform, FBG addressed security concerns indicating that the system underwent "rigorous testing" by international security experts.

The system offers the standard 128-bit encryption along with an extended validation process which minimises logging into dummy sites.

A 'two-factor authentication' also provides a unique transaction number via a token device every time the customer logs on to the site. An intruder would need to have both the token plus the username and password set by the customer in order to access information.

This morphing token also facilitates the digital signage that was previously missing from online systems which could not allow for completion of some transactions without a verifiable client signature.

With the token, the customer can generate a verifiable password that acts as a signature, so there is really no need to go into

the bank.

The banking and investments arm of GraceKennedy group led by FGB operations made pretax profit of $692 million in 2013 financial year or 6.6 per cent more year-on-year.

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