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Chase Web site breaks down. But why?

When I tried to log into one of my credit-card accounts last night, I was puzzled not to see the usual log-in form on the home page of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Then I saw a notice that the site was "temporarily unavailable" and figured I could just try again tomorrow.

That might take a while longer, as the New York-based firm continues to greet Web visitors with this message: "Our website is temporarily unavailable. We're working quickly to restore access. Please log on later."


It seems that the bank--the second-largest in the United States--is suffering the kind of site-wide meltdown that animates the nightmares of information-technology professionals.

Sadly, these things do happen. Sites go down all the time; the world is an imperfect place. (Nobody working at the Post in early 2004 will soon forget the time we somehow neglected to renew our domain-name registration.)

But Chase's meltdown has lasted longer than most. And it's had a bigger effect on people who can't check their balances or pay their bills online and have been knocked back to such analog forms of banking as phone calls (Chase's toll-free number is 800-935-9935) and branch visits. People are less inclined to be forgiving when a big part of their financial infrastructure stops working.

So what happened here? A Bloomberg BusinessWeek story quotes Chase spokesman Tom Kelly as saying that the bank is working to fix a "technical problem" that is not further explained. In a phone interview, Kelly didn't expand on that description or offer a time for the site's operation to return (perhaps understandably; those sorts of promises rarely survive contact with reality).

So for now, we can only imagine what happened to Chase's servers. Care to take a guess in the comments?

(9/15, 9:43 a.m. I was able to log into my account again at around 1:20 this morning. Have you been able to get back into the site?)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  September 14, 2010; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Gripes , The Web  
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Sure, these things do happen. However, with current fail-over systems website outages are becoming rare. Outages of the magnitude that Chase is experiencing now are extremely rare.
Chase claims the failure is a technological one. I have worked in IT for 14 years, and I find it very surprising that after 20 hours Chase offers no news, nor an estimate when the site would be available again.
I hope for Chase that this is not a breach. The last thing the banking industry needs right now is another PR nightmare.
If it is a breach, Chase better not be hiding behind the excuse of technology.

Posted by: WashingtonNewsReader | September 14, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Take it from me. I have been in the IT business for many years and understand that technical issues happen, but when issues such has the one Chase is dealing with is currently not resolved in a fair amount of time it shows Chase had no backup protocol to prevent their customers from being help up doing mandatory tasks such as online bill pay in case such a event happened. In the IT business lack of backup planning in case whatever issue they had is unacceptable. It clearly shows Chase you can't hide your lack of backup planning. Oh and being a customer for many years until now they have already proven to me they care less about their customers anyway. God Bless.
Jon in Miami

Posted by: JoninMiami | September 14, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

According to Netcraft, the subdomains like are using Windows Server 2003. The main site, which currently works fine, is on Unix (Solaris).

Surely they're not also using Microsoft products on servers for the backend mission critical stuff like online banking? If so it would explain why they're having so many problems.

Posted by: SteveTomson | September 14, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Aside from this, the time they are down for weekend "maintenance" always seems long to me.

It is often quirky accessing and importing through Quicken.

These days, a "technical" problem could be a coverup for something else.

Posted by: ObamasGulfResponseIsMuchWorseThanKatrina | September 14, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

It is surprising that Chase is facing such a problem. I am sure that they would have thought of putting enough redundant infrastructure to make sure that such an incident does not happen. It is surprising that the 2nd largest bank in USA has a 20 hour downtime to recover its online services.

It also goes to show, how companies are cutting cost without providing adequate support for its customers. The Telephone Lines at Chase must be very busy now.

Chase What Matters

Posted by: NLNGRNVRLDD | September 14, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Are they really on Windows?!?

That would be bad. There is a nasty glitch in the Windows RAID software which we ran into a while back, fortunately on a server that was not mission critical. When the primary drive fails, the RAID becomes completely disconnected from the striped drives. If you can not access the controller on the primary, you can not access any data on the backups. Basically, it is RAID which works well until you really need it.

The only way to get data off the backups is to do a manual extraction which is expensive and time consuming.

We got rid of our last Microsoft machine shortly thereafter and do not use any of their products anymore.

Posted by: crisp11 | September 14, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Capital One's online site is available so seldom that I've given up on using it.

Posted by: query0 | September 14, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Looks like they outsourced their IT Operations to an offshore team of IT "Professionals" ...

Posted by: itguy1234 | September 14, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I use Chase; it is annoying I agree. In reference to several comments that seem to imply MS server software is to blame - unless you have "insider" information, I think it is patentlhy unfair to MS to make such unfounded accusations and I am certainly no MS appolgist - my laptop is pure 64 bit OpenSuse 11.3;

Posted by: RichardThornton | September 14, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

when it is down this long it usually means the dbase has somehow been compromised and the DR and/or replication sofware faithfully replicated those changes over.. So do you try and fix it or come off the last backup..? and roll forward... interesting... I dont like them much anyway. They are forever locking my internet credit card which has like 1K limit for 12 and 16 dollar purchases. When you call they say its the software.. really... pfffffffff

Posted by: projob66 | September 14, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

They changed their home page so it now says they are down "due to scheduled system maintenance" - talk about lying through your teeth, it was so obviously not scheduled - otherwise it would have said so from the beginning, and it wouldn't be scheduled for the middle of the day.

Posted by: danlip | September 14, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I am glad they are addressing it but puzzled if it has anything to do with an e-mail I sent to Chase CEO yesterday summarizing computer issues I had with my credit card account over last two weeks!!!

Posted by: purdaysee | September 14, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Isn't there an app for that?

Posted by: carbonates | September 14, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree with a few earlier posts -- the site was hacked -- it's been way too long (a full day so far). Chase customers: Look for new ATM cards in the mail soon . . . my $0.02

Posted by: samasher1 | September 14, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I like the previous replies, and am impressed by $.02 reply most. I will bet you are correct. I am also very pleased that the Wash Post has a story on this... as I thougth it was just my sign on (paranoid) and someone was draining my accounts dry! Thanks Wash Post, you rock.

Posted by: DzimInSanDiego | September 14, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Consider fault tolerance and liability.

Some people don't wait for a system to actually breakdown before they act.
Once a system gets to the point where it is being over taxed on a regular bases it become extremely vulnerable to attacks or can return incomplete or bad data.
In the airline industry they have an ongoing updating and upgrading program for all web and internal systems to keep up with increasing future demand. JP Morgan even more so.
But sometimes the public response builds faster than projected and you find yourself behind. (Would that we all had this problem in such an economy)
So everybody knows this but………

Say you know your running 2% over tolerance daily with other spikes during the day. Are you a gambler? Would you rather have a hacker take credit for bringing down your site or have thousands of people disputing their account info or just have your guys shut it down for a day or two while they catch up on the project timeline?

Bottom line this is a good sign for the bank. Their customers are using the web much more than they ever hoped, which is good for business.

Posted by: traveler99 | September 14, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Good thoughts Traveler -- but we just finished a long holigay weekend (non-banking days) -- a Sunday and Labor Day. . . and they chose two regular banking days to shut down and complete project work? or even out capacity? again . . . just my $0.02

Posted by: samasher1 | September 14, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Good thoughts Traveler -- but we just finished a long holiday weekend (non-banking days) -- a Sunday and Labor Day. . . and they chose two regular banking days to shut down and complete project work? or even out capacity? again . . . just my $0.02

Posted by: samasher1 | September 14, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

In this age of triple redundancy systems, there is no simple excuse. We need a full explanation. The delay in providing a full explanation may indicate global hackers.

Posted by: jazzzz | September 14, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

America's 2nd largest national bank's Internet Banking site went down disgracefully, and CHASE officials are still not coming out (after 24 hours) with solutions for customers or providing real reasons except hiding behind a "technical issue" shifting the blame on IT. A true business professional company behaving with utter shameless fashion to the American nation is disgusting! It not only brings down the moral of other similar business community but also shows that CHASE does not care for its customers to come up with solutions within first few hours of downtime. Now that the problem has exceeded 24 hours, and customers still at dark as to what happened, CHASE top officals should be lawfully penalized with business losses and troubles caused to its customers. Not having a proper FAILOVER system for the customers is a crime, and not having answers and solutions after so much time has elapsed is simply unacceptable in any business ethics! CHASE should be downgraded/disintegrated to smaller banks where valuable business ethics are still maintained.

Posted by: FortKnox123 | September 14, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The Chase website is and has been a disaster. Primary functions don't work in the mortgage area, for example, and haven't worked for sometime. I try them from time to time in the hope that the errors or broken links are fixed but they never seem to be fixed completely. Having worked in computers for 30 years, this has long struck me as a house of cards.

Posted by: Don29 | September 14, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Just a guess - if they really were upgrading their site, some database migration that was part of the upgrade went wrong and resulted in data corruption related to the site.

It makes more sense then a hardware failure...

Posted by: steveb3210 | September 14, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that their database integrity has been seriously damaged and they are unable to restore it. And/or (based on a previous post), their RAID facility has damaged the filesystem to the extent that they cannot restore it. Either way, a nightmare.

An even more ominous guess: an electronic 9/11. Or maybe just some clever hacking.

The above post that the website has had many problems in the past ("a house of cards") could point to a less worrisome possibility for the nation's IT infrastructure, as it might imply primarily a management inadequacy in this one company.

Will we ever know?

Posted by: dcc1968 | September 14, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

My guess? They did not pay the ramsom.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 14, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse morgan chase.....home of many of the bildaberg group founders,
perhaps they were targeted by some of the competing dirty dozen new world order groups....or perhaps it is another takeover by goldman sachs......after all goldman is in the process of picking the next crooked partners....perhaps they had a contest .......

Will be interesting to see their excuse but one thing is for sure is going to cost stockholders and possibly American Taxpayers...........

Posted by: ticked | September 14, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

This is beginning to remind me of the recent experience that Virginia went through. About 1/2 of the Commonwealth's agencies were down for 5 days. When will we learn what happened there?

Posted by: confident_dem | September 14, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I wonder who runs the application and infrastructure maintenance for JPMChase. Surely not inhouse anymore. Sounds to me like one of the major outsourcers (IBM, Infosys, Tata, Wipro etc.) are going to be incurring some hefty SLA penalties.

Posted by: OldTownVA1 | September 14, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I am glad I closed my chase account 2 weeks ago.They treated me and all customers like dog doo after they took over WAMU. So I cancel CC and close bank accounts.They have some nerve after taking my tax money to pay huge bonus for running the bank into ground.I would not believe anything they say as they lied to me several times before I stop doing biz with them.

Posted by: geossh | September 14, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Sheezz... how I miss WAMU.COM

Posted by: chacama1 | September 14, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens to private institutions when the government takes over their ability to function.

Welcome to the third world.

Posted by: acousticwork | September 14, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Don't feel too bad. My fancy, over priced AT&T broadband connection is also down. I am using someone's open wi-fi link. Thanks, whoever you are. I guess the Internet isn't nuke proof after all. You think one of the world's largest companies will give me a refund? They will get on it, right after the government addreses the coming problem of peak oil.

Posted by: billsimpson451 | September 14, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse


Unusual Volume of Call Contracts Traded, Suspicion Rises

September 12, 2010

The abnormally high volume of call contracts that were traded on September 7th, 2010 is highly suspicious and should be investigated. Before 9/11 we saw the sell off of American Airlines stock and in the weeks leading up to the BP oil spill we saw the same with Goldman Sachs. While this could simply signify a buyout of Qwest by another entity or a merger with CenturyLink, we can not rule out the possibility that this is a positioning play for a future false flag cyber attack, used to shut down the internet and move to what is known as the internet 2 system.

The ruling elite have eagerly awaited the launch of the internet 2 system. They want nothing more then to implement the total systematic dismantlement of the internet to stop the flow of real information to the people of the world.

Further research of the internet 2 reveals that Qwest has a big hand in this new system, a system that is intended to be a total and completely controlled, limited, and monitored form of the internet, allowing only massive corporate websites to operate on a subscription type basis. The internet 2 will be a glorified cable TV service, essentially letting you surf only what the government allows you to.

. Quest- Google Finance
. Internet2 Industry Membership

Alternative news sites will be a thing of the past as the uncontrolled media, due to the lock down of the internet, no longer has the ability to survive.

At the very least we need this information to go viral, the more people who are aware of these deals the better. We might be able to stop or derail a future event by spreading this information to all our person contacts. The use of social networks such as Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook can be an extremely effective tool.

Montagraph has already done some impressive ground work on the situation. Please check out the interview Monty did with investigative reporter DallasGoldBug:

Daily Options Trading for Qwest Communications International

Market Intellisearch

Unusual volume of call contracts was traded today. There were 576,683 call contracts traded compared to the ten day average volume of 58,125 contracts. On the put side, 41 put contracts exchanged hands. Today’s traded Put/Call ratio is 0.00. There were 14065.44 calls traded for each put contract.

The following alerts were raised:

- Unusual Call Volume
- Low Put/Call Ratio
- 3 Month Record High Call Volume

The ratio skew implies that investors are hedging their positions in anticipation of a stock move. Today’s unusual volume activity confirms that traders are rebalancing their portfolios.

Shares of Qwest Communications International closed at $5.83 in the previous trading session and opened today at $5.82. Q is currently trading at $5.82, down $0.01 (-0.17%) in today’s trading session. The shares of the stock are trading between $5.79 and $5.86.

Posted by: AJAX2 | September 14, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

It's been HACKED ! Period.

Posted by: CallPablo | September 14, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mrfixit123 | September 14, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Soooooo.....when will the proposal for Business Continuity Management consultants be released from Chase? I know a little firm in Chantilly, VA that can help them out with IA, security, improved infrastructure and continuity planning. Where is it?

Posted by: merzydoats | September 14, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with others. I myself am also in IT for years. The issue certainly is not redundancy or system backups. A banking system this large has more than enough physical resources on hand to tackle any hardware or software problem with redundancies in less than an hour or two.

There is nothing that anyone can do to plan for a successful hacker or attack or massive virus outbreak (my bet is it's one of these scenarios or both at the same time). Many people have complained about the site being down and cite lack of planning, but logically speaking, an attack mandates a system wide shutdown, regardless of how many backups you have.

It takes time to troubleshoot the source of a breach or virus, and then assess the situation for the best remedy. If it's a virus with no current "cure", then they must wait til one is built by an outside vendor such as Symantec or Trend Micro, which can easily take days, during which time the system must remain offline for obvious reasons.

In the case of a system breach, they must also shutdown the system until they can trace the source(s), then secure and patch the breach and prevent reentry attempts, which also can take days.

As an earlier poster pointed out, the world is an imperfect place. Just because we live in a world of advanced technology does not mean everyone should expect an instant cure for every problem...even for large financial systems. I am willing to bet the IT team behind Chase has been running on very little sleep, little contact with their respective families, and under a world's worth of stress, seeing as how the whole world is watching. So be thankful to them for all their hard work, as they all likely woke up this morning thinking it would be an average day just as everyone else did......

Myself, I choose the patience is a virtue standpoint. Things will be up again soon, and telephone works for paying bills almost as quick as online.

Posted by: User432 | September 14, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

I find it humorous and rather stupid that so many of the supposed IT professionals that have posted comments saying that "OMG they're using Microsoft, it's so bad! They should be using UNIX, blah, blah." I mean really people do you have any true real-world experience? You sound like a bunch of zealots who think that the OS is all that matters when it's not. Sure, it's important, but it's not the end-all-be-all of a solution.

Maybe they're using a form of SSO (single-sign-on) for their user that could be using LDAP and Siteminder on a UNIX system and that’s why it’s down? Why would you suppose that that Windows is the root cause?

In my nearly 20 year IT career I've seen great Windows-based systems with amazingly high uptimes that can handle huge transaction volumes. Indeed there are numerous examples publicly available if you would only look. And I've seen some *horrible* Windows-based systems. I've seen UNIX-based systems that are terrible and unreliable that I wondered how the people who developed it kept their damn jobs and then I've seen UNIX-based systems that are simply superlative. I can say the same about a lot of "platforms" and applications, etc. that I've seen in my career. I've personally been involved with Windows-based systems that blow away most comparable role UNIX-based systems when it comes to reliability and total cost and I've been involved with UNIX-based systems that were spot-on. It starts with a good design. Good designs can begat good systems on either Windows or UNIX.

The point is the OS may have nothing to do with this issue.

There was one person in this post-fest that started getting to the real point. You have to view a system like online banking in a holistic way. It's not just the core OS. It's also the surround systems your interfacing with, the network topology, the storage and back-up, the load balancing, the co-location for continuity of business, etc. It's the application architecture and design and coding to prevent bottlenecks and a focus on secure code, etc. It's also your testing process and your deployment process and how you rollback changes, etc.

Knee-jerking on the OS makes me think that most of you making these types of comments really don't have a lot of experience or background in designing, building, and supporting major mission-critical systems; and certainly not ones in a large bank like Chase. If you did you'd realize that there is a lot more to true online banking than just the core OS.

So, just theorizing that it's the OS and the only reason its down is because it must be using Windows displays your naiveté just as much as saying that if it ran UNIX then it would never have problems or would never be down for this long.

I hope that Chase restores their site soon. One thing us IT folks can agree upon the Sev-1 call and root cause analysis that our peers at Chase are going through right now can't be any fun and the stress is likely off scale.

Posted by: KillingTime | September 15, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

It's back up. Still no explanation.

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | September 15, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse is not working properly right now.

Posted by: thw2001 | September 15, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse


First attempt to log in around 10:35AM the log in page hung up. After several tries was briefly able to log in one account. However when trying to go to activity page, the site hung up and eventually time out.

Tried to log in again - site time out.

Now the outage words pops up.

This is ridiculous.

Posted by: nho95041 | September 15, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I was not able to log in at 11:15 a.m. today 9/15 and I called the number in the article -- got a live person right away (less than 1 min)! She had to transfer me.... but again, they answered right away (less than 1 min) and helped me make my payment, waiving the $14.95 fee.

The number to make a credit card payment is 1-800-945-2006.

Posted by: norak6 | September 15, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I took the Chase/Washington Mutual $100 bribe to start up an account with them but their online banking and especially the bill-pay was so bad that I closed my account and went back to Bank of America. I'm glad I did.

Posted by: CHarris360x | September 15, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, KillingTime, for being a rational voice representing "I.T." It's times like these that the "Windows pundits" square off against the "Linux pundits" and engage in a droll argument over which is better. Boring, and irrelevant. Those previous posters should indeed break away from their "mom-and-pop" shops, or garage networks and spend a tour of duty in an enterprise class location. Then, perhaps, validity might come more graciously as their comments would be moderated based on fact, as opposed to innuendo.

An issue of this size leads one to believe it is a cascade failure of multiple systems; not just a primary server or two. Security, redundancy, recovery, all these and more. Perhaps even the employee side could be at hand. Let’s not forget the disgruntled San Francisco employee that changed all the passwords, and then left. For whatever reason, Chase has taken the “technical problems” route which clearly indicates its beyond hardware or software.

Yes a huge inconvenience, but – as KillingTime alludes to – not near as stressful as the technicians trying to resolve the issues. Continue to attack meaningless circumstance if it helps you pass the time, but I *guarantee* this has less to do with OS than it does with enterprise infrastructure and organization.

After 20 years in IT, I do not envy those poor souls that undoubtedly will have to “take one for the company”. You KNOW there will be layoffs and terminations based on this. Let’s just hope Chase doesn’t cut too wide in order to save face with Congress and their constituents.

Posted by: SlightlyGray | September 15, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse


Agree on your remarks about Microsoft. I am reliably informed that the Chase problems were/are NOT caused by Microsoft software, but were/are caused by another major vendor's software.

A major point people seem to miss is that hardware redundancy does absolutely nothing to protect against certain kinds of software problems. If a dormant software fault exists and becomes an active fault in response to some condition such as increased load, charateristics of the data being processed, and so forth, the dormant fault will activate on all those devices running the same software if they encounter the same condition. So go ahead, have a few hundred redundant servers, but don't expect protection from software faults if they are all running the same software and all encounter the same triggering condition.

Further, common data replication mechanisms offer little or no protection against data corruption, in particular if the corruption is logical corruption of a database caused by a demented application that goes crazy deleting or modifying data. In such cases the replication just gives you a nice replicate of screwed-up data.

Bottom line, this stuff is a lot more complex than amateurs think it is.

Posted by: ChuckCardiff | September 15, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I've just spent a frustrating hour trying to make a payment on a credit card. The site is running in slow motion. The calendar pop-up to select a payment date took several minutes to appear. My first two tries to log in timed out.

I'd say they still need a bit of work.

Posted by: Mr_Bruce | September 15, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

It was working earlier this morning around 7 am or so. I even logged on and saw my account information. I read reports it was back down this afternoon. At this instant I am able to log in.

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | September 15, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Bet me?

Posted by: lquarton | September 15, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

@ SlightlyGray and ChuckCardiff

Thanks for the props. I’m glad to see that there are other rational (experienced) IT people out there willing to comment on these sorts of things.

The site looks to be okay now, or at least it was a couple of hours ago.

According to an AP article that I read...

"Chase said in a statement that software from a third-party database company corrupted information in its systems and prevented users from logging on. As a result there was a long recovery process...."

It makes me wonder which third-party database software they refer to and what exactly triggered the issue, etc. in that software? That way the same won't happen to me in my enterprise if we're using the same. :-)

When I think of "third-party database software" and banks what usually comes to mind for me is ORACLE and that usually runs on UNIX boxes. Though I doubt the OS was involved. (lol)

DB2 is used a great deal in banks, too, but usually on the mainframe host side outside of the bank proper. Then again this could have been some sort of 3rd-party add-on tool to any of these databases managing things deep in the database system itself.

We may never know, but it would nice to have some confirmation to the press, perhaps anonymously by someone close to the source, as to more details.

Regardless, based upon the face-value of Chase's public statement the OS at least had nothing to do with the issue. :-)

Posted by: KillingTime | September 16, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Chase online banking is horribly unreliable. This is not the first time that Chase has suffered a lengthy outage of its online banking system. For example, Chase online banking was down for 15 hours on August 7 through August 8. This article on the USA Today web site mentions that August outage:

JPMorgan Chase's Online Banking Outage Sparks Questions:

If that URL does not work, Google the article's headline:
"JPMorgan Chase's Online Banking Outage Sparks Questions"

Posted by: ChaseSucks | September 17, 2010 5:47 AM | Report abuse


Your surmise on Oracle (as the major component affected) is correct. See

Sorry to disappoint all the Microsoft bashers.

Posted by: ChuckCardiff | September 19, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

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