BB&T sues vendor Hitachi Vantara over costly 2018 outage

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BB&T in Winston-Salem, N.C., has filed a lawsuit against a technology vendor that the bank says was responsible for a February 2018 outage that blocked thousands of customers from accessing their accounts.

The $237 billion-asset company is seeking at least $75,000 in damages from Hitachi Vantara, a Santa Clara, Calif., provider of software and hardware services to corporations.

The lawsuit, filed on Nov. 26 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, accuses the vendor of breach of contract, unfair and deceptive trade practices and gross professional negligence in its management of hardware at BB&T's Zebulon, N.C., data center.

The outage cost BB&T about $20 million in lower deposit service charges and higher expenses, Chief Financial Officer Daryl Bible said during an April 2018 conference call. After the outage, BB&T spent $300 million to build redundant data systems to prevent a similar outage.

Customers were unable to access accounts for about 15 hours. The outage affected online and mobile banking channels, telephone account access, ATMs and wire transfer services.

The outage was caused by a “critical hardware component that failed and then affected many of our other systems,” said BB&T spokesman David White. “We believe the vendor who manufactured, installed, and maintained the component was responsible for the equipment failure."

Hitachi Vantara, a unit of Japan’s Hitachi, said in a statement that it is reviewing the lawsuit's claims.

“Hitachi Vantara is trusted by 85% of Fortune Global 100 companies and we take the satisfaction of our customers very seriously,” the statement said. "Hitachi Vantara believes it provided high-quality service to BB&T at all times, including service delivery and advice regarding best practices for maintaining high system availability.”

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