Markets take a hit, and so does Schwab

As the markets tank, customers of online brokerage giant Schwab face intermittent problems with accessing their accounts.

It's been a rough and tumble morning for the markets. The Dow Jones plummeted 300 points, or 2.4 percent, to 12,553.06, according to the Associated Press. And the S&P fell 2.31 percent to 1,374, while the Nasdaq dropped 2.7 percent to 2,392.56.

With all the angst and apprehension among investors, add to the mix technical difficulties at online brokerage giant Schwab. Since around 9:30 a.m. (PST), Schwab customers have experienced intermittent problems logging into their accounts, said company spokesman Greg Gable.

He added the brokerage firm is still investigating the problem and has yet to determine its cause. Schwab is currently unaware of how many customers have been affected by the intermittent outage, he noted.

Is Black Monday around the corner?

UPDATE at 1:10 p.m. (PST):
The Schwab mystery has been solved and resolved.

Gable said the company should have zigged, when it zagged. And that, as a result, lead to the problems.

Schwab, in anticipation of a high-volume day, tried to ramp up capacity. But instead, it inadvertently reduced capacity, said Gable.

That proverbial "opps" occurred on a day of wild swings on Wall Street.

Faced with sporadic access to trade online, customers turned to the phone system that eventually became overwhelmed, Gable said.

After a three hours of frustration, Schwab's online trading and the phone ordering system were both up and running.