Mexico’s Central Bank Misplaced Up To $20M In Electronic Transfers


In the latest in a saga that has affected ePayments and debit card purchases in Mexico, the country’s banking system has misplaced between $18 and $20 million. The country’s regulatory agencies and central bank don’t know if the funds went missing due to hackers, errors or a scam, the AP reported.

While depositors themselves will not be impacted by the loss, the incident could cost banks. “This is a tough lesson that these standards must be tightened,” Mario Di Costanzo, who leads a government commission, told the AP. “For some time, we have noticed that banks in general have to do more, not just to protect the information of their customers, but to protect their own identities.”

Di Costanzo said the missing money may total between 350 and 400 million pesos. He also said that “the identity and recipients of some transactions made through the SPEI (Mexico’s official electronic payment system) have not been identified.”

This latest development comes as news surfaced that three banks in Mexico were the victims of an attempted cyberattack that aimed to gain access to the country’s electronic payment systems. According to American Banker, the attempted hack, which occurred on April 27, forced the banks to enact contingency plans that could have caused delays in money transfers. However, the country’s central bank noted that client money wasn’t affected by the incident.

Established in 2004, the SPEI system allows users to electronically transfer money between deposit accounts through a private, encrypted network operated by Mexico’s central bank. Sources reported that three banks experienced “incidents” when operating SPEI on Friday. Banco de Mexico said they will be connecting to the central bank’s network under “contingency schemes.”

Mexican banking and financial services holding company Grupo Financiero Banorte also had an “incident” with an intermediary process of the system it uses to connect to SPEI, but service has since been reestablished, the bank said in a tweet. However, the bank has not confirmed that it was targeted by cyber criminals.