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Federal Reserve falls over in massive hours-long tech outage, knocks down US inter-bank transfer system

Few details beyond 'operational error'

The US Federal Reserve's money-transfer systems failed on Wednesday for a number of hours, likely halting the electronic movement of billions of dollars.

Just before 1300 EST, the Fed noted it was “currently investigating a possible issue or disruption to multiple services,” and promised quick updates.

The IT outage at the United States' central banking system effectively prevented the nation's financial institutions from electronically sending money to each other, knackering wire transfers and deposits. The breakdown also affected a wide variety of services, including FedACH, FedCash, FedLine Advantage, FedLine Command, FedLine Direct, FedLine Web, and Fedwire Funds.

Thirty minutes after an alert went out that all was not well, the Fed updated anxious customers by stating that its “Federal Reserve Bank staff is currently investigating a disruption to multiple services. We will continue to provide updates as soon as they are available.”

Then nothing until about an hour later, at 1414 EST, when it announced: “Our technical teams have determined that the cause is a Federal Reserve operational error … We acknowledge that payment deadlines are impacted and will communicate remediation efforts to our customers when available. Thank you for your patience while we work to resolve the issue.”

At 1432 EST, the Fed managed to get its FedCash back online, and said many central bank application outages had also been resolved. But at the time of writing, 1622 EST, account services and some other facilities are still down or suffering issues. ®

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