The failure in the IT systems of the large microfinance company TsFP continues for a week. Within a week, it was only possible to restore the ability to pay the loan online via the website or using the company details. The company promises not to charge penalties or interest on payments made during the outage. A much greater difficulty for the company will be the normalization of work after the systems are restored to functionality. The costs for this can be comparable to annual profits.
For a week now, a failure has been ongoing in the IT systems of one of the largest microfinance companies - the Financial Support Center (FSC, Viva Money brand). The company announced problems with access to all of its services on Friday, November 17. By Thursday, November 23, it was possible to restore only the ability to pay the loan online via the website or using the company details. Access to clients’ personal accounts has still not been restored, meaning borrowers cannot check information online about the amount of debt and the payment schedule. The work of the call center has not been fully restored.
MFC CFP issued loans entirely online. According to reporting for the nine months of 2023, the full book value (i.e. excluding reserves) of microloans issued was estimated at RUB 14 billion. The company's interest income for this period amounted to 4.59 billion rubles, net profit - 1.14 billion rubles.
The TsFP explained that the team is fully “concentrated on resolving this issue: in the near future the ability to receive information about the size and structure of debt, as well as make full early repayment and restructure the debt will be restored.” In addition, information about the loan being overdue due to a system failure will not be transmitted to the credit history bureau, and no penalty will be charged. The company intends to deal with each client individually, so it asks them to “save payment documents until the fact of payment appears in their personal account.”
For microfinance organizations, the fundamental document is the “Basic standard for the protection of the rights and interests of recipients of financial services...”. And according to this document, as Alla Khrapunova, an expert of the Popular Front project “For Borrowers’ Rights,” notes, “the total duration of interruptions in the work of the official website should not exceed four hours per month.” The law in this situation is also on the side of the company’s borrowers. “When a violation of the terms of a loan agreement arises from force majeure circumstances or arose as a result of the actions or inaction of the creditor himself, the application of penalties as a general rule is not allowed,” points out Oleg Sukhanov, a lawyer at the Moscow Deloer Bar Association. Even if there are no relevant provisions in the contract, “the borrower still has the right to refuse to pay the penalty,” the expert notes.
However, mass complaints from individuals have not yet been recorded either by the SRO “MiR” or by the ONF “For the Rights of Borrowers.” “Major failures are extremely rare. The time to solve the problem depends on its depth and can vary from several seconds to several days,” emphasized the SRO “MiR”. But to prevent such failures, MFOs must improve monitoring systems, increase the level of data protection, regularly update software and conduct staff training on information security issues, note the Informzashita company.
The reasons for the failure can be different - from equipment failure to a hacker attack, a human factor cannot be ruled out, interviewed IT and information security specialists agree. “But the reason for the long recovery apparently lies in the lack of backup copies of the systems,” notes Fedor Muzalevsky, director of the technical department of RTM Group.
After eliminating the failure, the company will have to carry out enormous work to “sort out the rubble,” experts point out. As Alla Khrapunova notes, “it will be necessary to carefully verify each client, his payment, make adjustments, contact for payment, determine which date to set as a new date for payment.” And this case will require manual labor on the part of employees, she concludes. According to Fedor Muzalevsky, the costs of these activities can be “comparable to the annual profit” of the company.