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Customers planning to sue Nonghyup for damages

Posted April. 16, 2011 18:10,   


Customer complaints against the National Agricultural Cooperatives Federation aka Nonghyup Bank surged Friday in the wake of the bank’s computer system breakdown, the country’s worst online banking failure.

Certain customers who suffered damage due to network disruptions are showing signs of suing the bank, with one saying, “I couldn’t handle my money for several days.”

As of noon Friday, a combined 676 customers filed complaints for compensation after the breakdown, mostly on damage that is easily verifiable such as unnecessary payments of handling fees and delays in loan interest payments. Aside from these, the bank has received a countless number of additional complaints and inquiries.

Nonghyup Chairman Choi Won-byeong said in an apology Thursday, “We`ll do our best to compensate our customers for their economic losses.”

Conflict is expected, however, as he failed to mention compensation for customers who are unable to confirm the damage they suffered.

Customers can verify damage from delays in utility bill and loan interest payments, but they cannot do the same if they suffered losses because they could not sell stocks and homes due to failure in cash withdrawals or transfers.

One Nonghyup customer said, “I went to an electronics mall in Yongsan to buy a computer, but had to return home empty-handed because I couldn`t use my check card,” adding, “I had to borrow money from my friends for living expenses as well.”

“How can I prove I suffered inconvenience due to the inability to withdraw my money and get compensation?”

Customers who suffered damage opened online communities on portal sites such as Naver and Daum to prepare for a lawsuit against the bank.

Banking operations were not fully recovered Friday, four days after the breakdown. Loan services, one of the two main pillars of financial services, also have yet to resume and the overall processes of loan application, review, execution and extension remain suspended.

A Nonghyup source said, “Loan services at most branches remain disrupted due to the sheer size of data involving the services,” adding, “We`re conducting recovery work with an aim to normalize the services today.”

Credit card cash advances and check card transactions resumed around 8:30 a.m. Friday, but the still unstable banking system was frequently disrupted in the morning due to massive transactions. Certain customers had to try 10 times to withdraw money.

yunjung@donga.com redfoot@donga.com