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from the L.A. Times

Bank of America website down for five hours

When online banking services are disrupted, people notice. When you’re the No. 1 online banking provider and things go wrong, people notice a lot.

A systems problem at Bank of America created sporadic service outages for nearly five hours today, spokeswoman Tara Burke said. The problems, beginning at about 8 a.m. California time, occurred throughout the Charlotte, N.C., bank’s online systems and weren’t confined to a region.

Burke declined to say how many of the bank’s 24 million online customers had been unable to access their information. But on Google Trends, which tracks the most popular requests on the search engine, five of the top 10 requests this afternoon related to Bank of America, with "bank of america online banking" in the No. 1 slot.

The bank, by far the largest consumer financial institution, wouldn’t say what caused the outages. Burke said no sensitive data were lost or stolen, adding that customers were able to access their accounts at branches and ATMs and by using the 800 telephone number.

"We apologize to customers for any inconvenience," she said.

It wasn’t clear whether the systems problem was related to turmoil in the nation’s financial markets. Brokerage websites strained under heavy trading last week, with at least four experiencing slow service or failure to load pages last week, according to reports.

-- E. Scott Reckard

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